Strauss wants more of the same

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Michael Clarke & Andrew Strauss

Andrew Strauss, right, and Australia captain Michael Clarke pose with the Commonwealth Bank Series trophy ahead of tomorrow's opening one-day international, which takes place at the MCG

Andrew Strauss will return to lead England in tomorrow's opening one-day international against Australia aiming to pick up where he left off.

Strauss has spent the past week away from the squad after captaining England to their historic 3-1 Ashes success, with Paul Collingwood taking charge for the drawn Twenty20 series.

While admitting he enjoyed the break, a refreshed Strauss is looking forward to resuming battle with Australia in a seven-match series that will form a major part of England's World Cup preparations.

“A few days away is always quite reinvigorating," he said.

"It was a long hard Ashes series as it always is, but I’m very excited about what’s to come.

"There’s a context to this one-day series. Australia are number one in the world and we’ve got a World Cup around the corner.

“Momentum heading into the World Cup is crucial. We know that getting wins early in a seven-match series is important and that starts tomorrow."

Strauss also warned the dominance with which his side completed England's first Ashes success in Australia for 24 years will count for nothing in the 50-over format.

Andrew Strauss

Strauss is adamant England will not ease up following their Ashes success. "Ultimately it's a different form of the game," he said

"Both sides will be very up for the series and to be thinking 'oh well, we won the Ashes’ will take away from our intensity," he added.

"Quite a few of our players are in decent nick but ultimately it’s a different form of the game.

"We understand the challenge ahead of us. We’re not going to run away from that, we’re excited and think we can do well."

With the World Cup just over a month away the tourists are, however, set to have one eye on their preparations for the sub-continental tournament.

England have never won cricket's most prestigious tournament, but after a 12-month period in which they have won the World Twenty20 and ended the long wait for an Ashes win Down Under, Strauss believes they can add the World Cup to their growing list of honours.

"We have an excellent chance," he said. "Our one-day cricket has improved dramatically over the last 18 months.

"There’s been a slight change in personnel but guys are starting to understand their roles in the side.

Andrew Strauss

The World Cup is just weeks away and Strauss feels his side have "an excellent chance" of triumphing on the sub-continent

"Our attention to detail has got better as well. One of the thing we’re conscious of is the conditions in Australia are very different to the sub-continent.

"Some of our practice and training has got to be tailored towards this series and some of it towards heading forward as well.

"That doesn’t mean we’re not here to win this series as that’s the most important thing."

Tomorrow's opening game in Melbourne, which will celebrate 40 years of one-day international cricket, is also the final game before England announce their 15-man squad for the World Cup.

Strauss admitted that had thrown up an "awkward situation" with some of those in the 17-man squad currently in Australia set to miss out.

He is confident, however, that those players who are overlooked will still have plenty of motivation to do well when called upon.

“The first thing to say is it’s a slightly awkward situation where you have to announce a World Cup squad after the first game of a seven-game series," he said.

"It makes things tricky for everyone. But the guys have an opportunity to represent their country.

"Whether they are part of that World Cup squad or not, what they do now will have an effect on whether they play in the future.

"It’s very simple: if they can play, take it with both hands. If you’re not part of the 15, make sure you’re ready to go when it finishes."

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