Strauss expects break to bear out

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Andrew Strauss

Andrew Strauss, who did his bit for NatWest CricketForce in Harrow today, said: "I feel refreshed and ready to go. I am chomping at the bit now, I can’t wait to get out there and play”

Andrew Strauss is convinced England’s Ashes chances have been boosted by the decision for him to miss the tour of Bangladesh.

Strauss and paceman James Anderson were both rested as England took the chance to blood new players and give Alastair Cook some leadership experience.

Strauss insists England were right to prioritise next winter’s Ashes defence Down Under and the World Cup, which begins in February.

“We have some really important cricket coming up. The Ashes is a huge series for us and the World Cup is a huge one-day series for us. We need to be peaking there,” Strauss said at Harrow St Mary’s Cricket Club where he and women’s captain Charlotte Edwards were helping with NatWest CricketForce.

“I can understand the argument that the captain should be there all the time but I still think it has been the right decision in the long-term interests of the England side.

“Come the Ashes we will need all the energy and enthusiasm we can muster. We have to look at ways of getting the most out of our players when we need them to be playing at their best.

“I genuinely believe the benefits of me taking time off will be seen later on in the summer and into the winter.

“The break has done its job. I feel refreshed and ready to go. I am chomping at the bit now, I can’t wait to get out there and play.”

Strauss does not envisage any problem taking the reins back from Cook, who impressed with his leadership of the team.

However, he knows England they will need to improve substantially if they are to win the Ashes in Australia for the first time since 1986-87.

This winter, England beat South Africa in the one-day series and drew the Test rubber before securing whitewashes in both formats in Bangladesh.

“We head into the season in a good frame of mind after a generally successful winter and now we need to move forward and continue that winning momentum for the next six months,” added Strauss.

Steven Finn

Strauss is enthused by the progress of young seamer Steven Finn, who was a late addition to the tour of Bangladesh

“To win in Australia you have to do a lot of things outstandingly well and we probably haven’t done enough of that over the winter.

“I have some thoughts on how we can improve over the next nine months and now is the time to start implementing them.

“It was fantastic to see some guys in Bangladesh who hadn’t been involved in the Test team have a go. Steve Finn has done fantastically well, Tim Bresnan really enhanced his credentials out there.

“The batsman did a really good job and went on to get big scores, which will be crucial, and the bowlers will have benefited from the conditions out there too.”

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