Wellington: England are still playing catch-up with the modern way of batting in the 50-over format but are showing encouraging signs in closing the gap with the major cricketing nations, the team`s batting coach Mark Ramprakash said on Thursday.
England have often been criticised for their lack of intent and innovation while batting, particularly during the opening overs, when a maximum of two fielders are allowed outside the 30-yard circle.
The team`s dismal run in one-day internationals saw opening batsman and captain Alasatair Cook dumped from the team with the mantle handed to limited-overs specialist Eoin Morgan.
England`s batsmen have also struggled during the last five World Cups, making just four centuries compared to current holders India, who have hit 18, and they are ranked eighth on that list.
They fared no better during a 111-run thrashing by co-hosts Australia in Melbourne on Saturday, with young James Taylor the only saving grace with a gutsy 98 in the side`s tournament-opening loss.
"It`s a delicate balance to play with freedom but also responsibility," said the 45-year-old Ramprakash, who played 52 tests and 18 ODIs for England.
"In the caldron of the international arena, to get that balance right doesn`t always happen clearly.
"But I think the mentality for England to get up to speed with 50-over cricket and the modern way of batting in this format, I`m happy with the direction that the guys are going in."
Last year, England lost home and away ODI series against Sri Lanka, were beaten on home soil by India and were also defeated by Australia in the tri-series final in the lead-up to the World Cup.
"It`s fair to say, and the stats show that, England right now came into the tournament as an underdog," Ramprakash added.
"We don`t have a core of really experienced players. So I don`t think that`s anything sort of new to people. Our players are finding their way.
"We want the players to go out and play with an aggressive mindset and that freedom... and I think the best sides do that."