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England coach lauds his team ahead of T20 World Cup semi-final after coming back from 'rock bottom'

England head coach Matthew Mott believes his side have gone from "rock bottom" to the real deal as they prepare to fight for a place in the T20 World Cup final.

A blockbuster semi-final against world number ones India awaits in Guyana on Thursday, giving Mott the chance to complete a radical shift in fortunes after plumbing the depths just seven months ago.

Back in November, Mott and his captain Jos Buttler oversaw a torturous 50-over World Cup on Indian soil, losing six of their nine group games before bowing out with big questions over the duo‘s leadership.

But England's director of cricket Rob Key held the line, insisting they had earned the right to defend the title they won together in 2022 and has watched them walk a tightrope all the way into the last four.

And Mott, who bore the brunt of the criticism last time around, thinks hard experience has helped he and Buttler forge the team's identity.

"Anyone in life, when they reach rock bottom it is an opportunity to reflect and really be true to what you believe in," he said.

"What we have tried to do is double down on the things we think are incredibly important to this team. We have really recognised we need to stand for what we believe in and to let go the things we can't control.

"Jos and I have a great combination going. We really enjoy our influence on the group and a lot of the senior players are really contributing as well.

"We will be judged at the end of the tournament — we haven't achieved anything yet in this World Cup but we are really excited about the challenge ahead."

Recent form places England as underdogs, with India winning all six of their completed games at the competition while Mott's side have already been turned over by Australia in the first round and South Africa in the Super 8 stage.

They have survived a couple of near misses, almost bundled out by the rain in Antigua and only squeezing past Scotland on net run-rate, tribulations which have brought our their true character according to Mott.

"We have not had the dream run yet but I would like to think we will put our best foot forward in this game," he said.

"We've had to play most of this tournament from behind and with adversity and we'd love to throw that first punch, get in front and really hammer that home.

"We've had to fight and scratch and claw our way to get to the position we're in and it's really galvanised us as a group.

"We all come at this with a clean slate and if you'd given us that opportunity a couple of weeks ago we certainly would have taken it with both hands."

There is no reserve day for the match, the only knockout game not to have one allocated, meaning a washout would send India through by virtue of winning their Super 8 group.

And while Mott declined to gripe about the logistical quirk which has left his side looking nervously at a concerning weather forecast in Georgetown, he did urge the International Cricket Council to review the policy for future events.

"It's something we've known about since the start of the tournament so to cry foul over it now probably doesn't make a lot of sense," he said.

"I'm not going to lie, it would be great to have a reserve day because the weather can change from day to day.

"We've been through that the entire tournament sweating on weather reports, so that's nothing new to us but in an ideal world maybe that's something the ICC need to look at long term."

England's analysts have challenged the stereotype that Guyanese conditions support lavish turn, instead suggesting that the predominance of spinners — who tend to bowl around half the overs in T20s here — is down to the slow, low bounce.

There will still be conversations to be had over the balance of the XI, with four seamers in their side perhaps one too many.

If one dropped out, possibly Sam Curran, there would be a temptation to recall Will Jacks as an additional power-hitting option in the middle order. 

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