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Strauss keen to accept plaudits

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Andrew Strauss, centre, is eager for England to accept the plaudits after they completed a 4-0 whitewash of India in the npower series

Andrew Strauss is happy for his side to bask in the glory of their sensational npower series thrashing of India - as long as they retain full focus in time for their next assignment.

England marked their ascent to the top of the ICC Test rankings with a comprehensive innings-and-eight-run victory in the fourth Test at the Kia Oval yesterday, thereby completing a 4-0 whitewash of their predecessors as the world's number one side.

The home team's players and staff returned to the field for a well-earned celebratory drink after a sell-out crowd had departed and it can be reasonably assumed they went on to enjoy the festivities that followed.

Test captain Strauss is as keen as anyone to celebrate England's success, but is aware of the challenges that lie ahead for his charges this winter.

After a one-day series in India, England head to the United Arab Emirates to take on Pakistan in all three forms of the game before facing Sri Lanka in a two-Test series.

In the wake of his side's latest triumph, which followed a 1-0 series win over Sri Lanka, Strauss said: "Rightly, I think we should celebrate the fact that we've had a fantastic Test match summer.

"We've had plenty of questions asked of us, and we've answered those questions. But we've got to start looking towards the winter now, firstly in the one-dayers and then the Tests after Christmas.

Andrew Strauss

Captain Strauss is adamant that England will be re-focused for their winter Test tours against Pakistan in the UAE and Sri Lanka respectively

"The greatest pitfall is feeling like you've done it all and therefore you're not willing to put in the hard work to continue it.

"I'd be very disappointed if our side fell into that trap, it's certainly not what we're about as a unit. If there are any signs of it then it's important we nip those in the bud."

England have produced a series of irresistible displays on home soil this year, but Strauss knows conditions will not prove as favourable in their next Test assignments.

"Winning away from home is always more difficult," he reasoned.

"We should be competitive in our conditions against anyone in the world. Away from home is harder, so we're going to have to challenge ourselves to improve away from home - and then it's about maintaining standards and performance, and being consistent.

"We've improved that a lot in the last 12 or 18 months. We need to continue that in the next year or so."

Strauss will not be required to pull on an England shirt again until 2012 following his retirement from international limited-overs cricket.

However, he does not expect fatigue to pose a problem for those who will take part in the upcoming Twenty20 and one-day international matches against India, World Cup winners in the 50-over game earlier this year.

When asked if England's players are likely to be drained, he replied."I certainly hope not.

"Confidence is high. There was a fantastic one-day series win against Sri Lanka, and here's an opportunity to take on the World Cup winners.

"There's plenty to be excited about in that one-day series, and I'm sure we'll be very keen to finish the summer again being unbeaten."

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