Strauss puts Ashes quest in context

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Andrew Strauss, centre, who will lead England's quest, said: "An Ashes win in Australia can be a defining moment in your career"

Andrew Strauss believes an Ashes victory in Australia could provide the career highlight for each of England’s tourists.

The captain today claimed England are more excited than nervous as they count down to their departure for the winter series on October 29.

“We’ve really been targeting this series because an Ashes win in Australia can be a defining moment in your career,” he said.

“You never know how it’s going to play out there, how difficult or easy it might be, but what you’ve got to do is be as prepared as possible, be prepared for anything.

“When you’re there there’s a lot of off-field things to do deal with, being away from home for a long time but, if you deal with that well, it gives you a good chance of playing well on the field.”

After another positive summer, in which England won six series in all forms of the game, Strauss feels his side are well set for the trip.

“We’re in a good place as a side,” he said. “We’ve made a lot of improvement over the last 18 months or so.

“We’re aware it’s a tough assignment going to Australia and winning, very tough, but we’re in a good place to do it. We’re quietly confident we can do it without being over-the-top arrogant.

Kevin Pietersen

Strauss backed misfiring Kevin Pietersen to come good in the Ashes. "These series bring the best out of him," Strauss recalled

“We need to play well out there, we need to be consistent and in the really crucial sessions we need to make sure we play well.

“But we’re really excited and just ticking down the hours now.”

Australia, on tour in India, have just suffered a 2-0 Test series loss but Strauss is not putting too much stock in that result.

“The conditions in India are so different,” he said. “They’ve obviously lost a few Tests and have a few questions they need to iron out and that might preoccupy them where we don’t have that.

“But we know from past experience that as soon as you arrive in Australia, from day one things get pretty tough.

“They’re a proud side, their record in Australia is outstanding and we’re expecting therm to be at their best this winter, so if we want to beat them we have to be better than that.”

Strauss also backed the under-pressure Kevin Pietersen to shine Down Under.

Strauss told Sky Sports News: “The question marks over his form will remain until he gets a big score, but all of us who have been through bad form know it only takes one innings and things are right again.

“When you’re talking about a player of KP’s class, it will happen.

“He will have an impact on the series, no doubt. These series bring the best out of him.”

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