Cricket–England coach hopes Hazlewood's comments were tongue in cheek


  • Cricket
  • Thursday, 13 Jun 2024

FILE PHOTO: Cricket - First T20 International - England Practice Session - Headingley Cricket Ground, Leeds, Britain - May 21, 2024 England coach Matthew Mott during the practice session Action Images via Reuters/Lee Smith

(Reuters) - England coach Matthew Mott said he hopes Josh Hazlewood's comments that Australia might look to secure only a narrow victory over Scotland that would see England knocked out of the T20 World Cup were tongue in cheek.

England's Group B opener against Scotland was washed out and after losing to Australia the defending champions must win their remaining two matches to go level on points with the Scots, who have a significantly superior net run-rate.

While Australia are overwhelming favourites in their final group match on Saturday, Hazlewood said they would welcome a narrow win that would end England's title defence.

"I am very much hoping it was an off-hand remark by a really good bloke who is having fun," Australian Mott told BBC Sport.

"Knowing Josh, he has got a pretty dry sense of humour.

"I am hoping it was very much tongue in cheek."

Talking to reporters after Australia secured one of the group's two spots in the Super Eight stage, Hazlewood said they would be happy to eliminate England in the group phase to avoid meeting them later in the tournament.

Asked how Australia could do that in the match against Scotland, Hazlewood said: "Not too sure really, whether you get close and just knock it around and drag it out."

While Hazlewood's captain Mitchell Marsh would be at risk of a two-match suspension and a fine if they were found guilty of manipulating the score, former Australia test skipper Tim Paine backed the idea.

"I'm dead serious. You don't have to lose the game, just let Scotland get close enough," he said on SEN Radio.

"... if you can knock out one of the most highly fancied teams in the tournament and do it in a way that's not too bad, or you're not going to be losing a game, then I'm all for it."

(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; editing by Peter Rutherford)

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