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Cricket | ICC World T20

'Eng morale brilliant after warm-up wins'



Defending champions England's morale is brilliant after winning both Twenty20 World Cup warm-up games against Pakistan and Australia, captain Stuart Broad said on Thursday, the eve of their opening Group A match against Afghanistan.

The 2010 winners, who also play India on Sunday with the top two from the group advancing to the super eights, beat Pakistan by 15 runs and the Australians by nine runs.

"We prepared really well, won both games over here and both have been very good tests for us," Broad told reporters.

"I am really delighted. The morale is brilliant. Everyone is excited about getting underway. Our preparations have gone as well as we hoped."

Broad was asked how the team would cope in the absence of leading batsman Kevin Pietersen.

"We've got world-class match winners in the side. Yes we have got guys who have played a lot of international cricket," Broad said.

"We've got eight of those who won the World Cup three years ago and we've got players who can clear the ropes without a doubt, we have seen that in the last two games."

Pietersen announced his retirement from limited-overs cricket this year before making himself available again in August.

The South African-born batsman has been frozen out of the England set-up since allegedly sending "provocative" text messages about his own teammates to players in the South Africa side last month.

"KP has been around for a long time has done fantastically well for us," Broad said.

"It's back to the ECB at the moment that he is not here and we have to put up with that and get on with that. The 15 guys in the squad are excited to be here, out for the challenge and that's what you want coming into a tournament."

Pietersen is in Sri Lanka as a commentator on the tournament having heard on Tuesday that he will miss next month's test tour to India.

England test and one-day international captain Alastair Cook was hopeful of a resolution to the impasse in the future.

"I did have a meeting with Kev and I have been involved in meetings. Clearly the issues haven't been resolved and that is why he is not available for selection at the moment," Cook was quoted as saying by British media.

"Time hopefully will be a healer and we will be able to move on.

"If the issues can be resolved, Kevin has said he is available for selection but at the moment that can't happen."

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