These players are proven - Strauss
Captain Andrew Strauss believes the solution to England’s perennial one-day problems lies within the crop of players assigned to the ICC Champions Trophy.
Strauss backs the current 15-man squad, which is shorn of Andrew Flintoff and Kevin Pietersen through injuries, though further convincing defeats following the 6-1 series loss to Australia will make some individuals uncomfortable.
But Strauss, whose rich form with the bat has remained a constant throughout recent struggles, is right to point out that England’s failings stretch far back beyond his rein.
“One-day cricket has been an ongoing concern for us for a number of years now, and we are talking about decades rather than a few years,” Strauss said.
“But I am increasingly excited about making big strides in one-day cricket and in order to do that we need to have a real look at what we have been doing in practice and in the middle.
“It is a good project to be involved in and moving forward as a group. It is going to take a bit of time but in the meantime I still maintain we are capable of beating anyone. We just haven’t had the consistency over a number of years and we need to improve that.
“I don’t imagine for one minute there are going to be wholesale changes like picking nine or 10 guys who haven’t played for England before. I don’t think that is helpful.
“Generally these guys have been the guys who have performed most consistently in county cricket.
“There will be a few who are knocking on the door and rightly so but there is always that temptation to think that magic cure is somewhere lurking in the counties.
“The reality is that the cure lies within the group of players and how we approach our cricket and how we practise and all that sort of stuff.”
England originally considered naming their winter tour parties for assignments in South Africa today but have delayed selection until their departure from this tournament.
Strauss’ team face hosts South Africa, in-form Sri Lanka and New Zealand, a team they have defeated just four times in the past 17 completed one-day internationals.
“Obviously the performances of the Australia series and this Champions Trophy will be on the selectors’ minds,” said Strauss.
“We are not sure entirely which way we are going to go on that at the moment but guys have got three more opportunities to show what they can do. Hopefully more than three.”
The remedy is obvious to most observers of the 6-1 thrashing by the Australians - score more runs.
The bowling unit was all too often left with nothing to bowl at in the NatWest Series, but fast bowler James Anderson believes the batsmen are capable of turning it around
“(The batsmen) know exactly what they have to do and the whole thing about one-day cricket is that your top six get the bulk of the runs," said the fast bowler, who took three wickets in the second match at Trent Bridge.
“It was a really disappointing series and we just don’t want a repeat of it. We know we have a lot more talent in the side than we showed and we want to show people we can beat some of the top teams in the world.
“To be honest, it doesn’t really matter what I feel, it is the guy out in the middle that has done it and the batters know if they get to 20 or 30 they should be going on to get at least 80 if not a hundred,” Anderson added.
“We have been missing a big score and in some of the games if it wasn’t for Strauss we wouldn’t have got near some of the totals we got.
“It is frustrating but we know they are not doing it on purpose, they’re trying to win a game of cricket for England - we have just not executed it very well over the last few weeks.
“We received a hell of a thumping but the fact we have got away from England and can kind of start afresh a little bit, under a new set of circumstances, with new teams to play against, will just help us turn things around.”
Strauss concurred with the change of scene inspiring a change of fortune.
“An event like this only needs a couple of guys to stand up and put in good performances at the right times and suddenly you are right in the mix for the final,” he said.
England took part in their first full training session ahead of Friday’s opener this afternoon, with Stuart Broad and Luke Wright both taking part following minor niggles.