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Strauss upbeat after Yardy departure

ICC Cricket World Cup 2011

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Andrew Strauss

Despite Michael Yardy's departure, England captain Andrew Strauss said: “It’s not difficult for us to focus our minds on this game of cricket.”

Andrew Strauss is confident his England team will go into tomorrow’s World Cup quarter-final with a positive frame of mind despite the circumstances of Michael Yardy’s return home.

Yardy yesterday became the fourth England player to start this competition but fail to finish it when he decided he could no longer give his best in his state of depression.

Strauss added his support for the slow left-armer to that already voiced by the ECB and Yardy’s team-mate Ravi Bopara.

The captain must also ensure, of course, that the players remaining are in the right frame of mind to do their country proud - and he has no doubt they are.

“It’s not difficult for us to focus our minds on this game of cricket. It is a massive game,” he said. “If we lose we’re on the plane home; if we win we’re in the semi-finals.”

Strauss has been aware of Yardy’s troubles for some time but did not learn they had become too much to bear on tour until Wednesday evening.

“It’s desperately disappointing for him and for us as a squad not to have him here any more,” he added. “It’s a horrible thing for him to have to go through.

“I found out about it late the night before he went home. It’s something he’s been managing for a while, and there have been networks in place to help him do that. But over the last week or so, it’s got too much for him.

“We are fully behind him. Obviously, we’ve had some previous experience of this with Marcus Trescothick - so we all know a lot more about it now and also that there are ways of managing it.”

Tim Bresnan

Tim Bresnan bowls in training today at Colombo's R Premadasa Stadium but faces a fitness test on his right calf ahead of England's quarter-final there

Strauss, who was today hoping seamer Tim Bresnan comes through a fitness test on his right calf injury, prizes England’s resolve and togetherness above all and is hoping those qualities will again help them prevail tomorrow.

“We have shown a lot of resolve; we have shown we’re able to stick together in close encounter,” he said.

“You never know what this game is going to throw up at you, and you’ve got to be quick enough to adapt to whatever comes your way. We have got to play good, smart, intelligent cricket and ask questions of the opposition.”

The loss of resources to injury has been a fact of life for England all winter - both during and after their historic Ashes victory in Australia.

Already in this World Cup campaign they have lost Kevin Pietersen, Stuart Broad and Ajmal Shahzad through injury.

“We have had a lot of injuries, a lot of people coming and going,” added the skipper.

“I think that tests out your resolve as a group and the core of the side to be able to welcome other people in and make them feel part of the side - just as important a member as the guy who has departed.

“I think that’s something we’re good at as a group. But no one wants injuries - it’s not what you’re looking for; it makes life a lot harder for you - but you have got to manage the situation as the cards unfold.

“So far we have managed to deal with that with reasonably well - and we’ll continue with that into the rest of the World Cup. It gives me a lot of belief that you don’t have to look at the same two or three players who deliver for you.

“We all know that if you want to win a World Cup you need performances from all 11 - maybe not all at the same time but over the course of a World Cup. That gives me a lot of confidence going into tomorrow’s game.”

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