Strauss relishing World Cup challenge
Captain Andrew Strauss remains upbeat over England’s chances of success in the upcoming World Cup despite their recent one-day international series defeat in Australia.
After winning the Ashes Down Under for the first time in 24 years, Strauss’ men were beaten 6-1 by their hosts in a limited-overs series that saw both teams suffer a host of injuries.
But, speaking on England’s return from Australia this afternoon, Strauss insisted his side are more than capable of impressing when they fly out to the sub-continent on Saturday.
“I think the atmosphere in the World Cup is going to be very intoxicating and motivating,” he said. “All the best players in the world will be there and ultimately only one team is going to walk away with that World Cup. The thought of that being us is very exciting.
“Of course, we would have liked to have won the one-day series in Australia in preparation, but some of our players haven’t been involved and have had an opportunity to get a bit of a rest. They are going to come back into the fold and hopefully add a huge amount of impetus for us moving forward.”
One player who will not feature for England in the World Cup is middle-order batsman Eoin Morgan, after he was ruled out due to the broken finger he sustained in Australia.
However, Strauss should be able to call on his first-choice bowling attack, with the likes of Stuart Broad, Ajmal Shahzad, Tim Bresnan and Graeme Swann all set to return, along with all-rounder Paul Collingwood.
When asked about his frontline bowlers, Strauss replied: “They have been the basis of a lot of our one-day victories over the last 12-18 months, a very settled bowling unit that know their roles very well and have bowled very well in tandem together. We certainly missed that out in Australia.
“I believe that bowling unit is a match for anyone in the world. They should be fit but they need to find some rhythm pretty quickly and clearly need to do their job as well.”
While one-day cricket is currently the priority for England, Strauss was also able to reflect on his side’s momentous Ashes success, which saw them claim victory by an innings in three of the five Tests.
“It’s probably the best and most successful tour that I’ve been on,” he added.
“Obviously we didn’t do as well as we would have liked in the one-dayers and we’re not going to hide away from that fact, but the main priority going out to Australia was to retain the Ashes and I think the fact that we did that, but also the style in which we did it speaks volumes for the players who went out there and performed under real pressure.
“We’re all exceptionally proud of what we have done and we are now turning our attentions towards the World Cup, which, again, is something we’re very motivated by and excited by as well.”
England’s busy schedule has ensured they have had little time to savour their Ashes triumph, but Strauss does not feel that represents a problem for any of his players.
“The nature of international cricket is that you always move on to the next thing,” he explained.
“The reception is not important, it’s not the reason we play the game of cricket. All of us that have been involved in international cricket know the importance of an Ashes series, we know how difficult it is to win in Australia and therefore the achievement is special regardless of what you do once the series is over.
“When we are old and grey we will sit down and look over the footage of that Ashes series and still be very proud of what we achieved.
“It will go down as one of the highlights, if not the highlight, of our careers, but now is not the time to look back on it, now is the time to look forward to the World Cup. If we were to complete the double of an Ashes win and a World Cup win in the space of six months then that certainly will be the highlight of my career.”