Strauss keeps it simple

England v West Indies
Andrew Strauss

Andrew Strauss is keen to test his players in a normal 11-a-side warm-up match

England captain Andrew Strauss has opted to revert to a traditional 11-a-side match for the opening contest of the Caribbean tour.

Strauss' side face a St Kitts & Nevis XI over three days at Warner Park in a game not initially given first-class status.

Rather than field 13 or 14 men, however, as became commonplace on tours under coaches Duncan Fletcher and Peter Moores, England will treat the match in the most serious manner.

"Clearly, we haven't performed all that well in practice matches previously and I think one way to maybe encourage us to improve our performances is to treat each game like a proper game of cricket, so we will be playing 11-a-side in both warm-up games," said Strauss.

"My own personal view is that players got caught up somewhere between middle practice and a match because 13-a-side is not a proper game of cricket.

"That is why I think it is definitely worth giving 11-a-side a go, trying to challenge the guys about how we are going to play in the Test match and make sure we hit the ground running rather than ease into it too much."

This initial contest will be followed by a three-day encounter with a West Indies A team at the same ground next week.

England will name their team and the identity of Strauss' unofficial deputy later today.

It has been policy not to select formal vice-captains in recent years but Strauss has opted to make clear who will take charge when he is off the field from the outset of his captaincy.

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