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Champions Trophy excites Strauss

NatWest Series

Andrew Strauss

Andrew Strauss is excited about playing in the ICC Champions Trophy despite it coming on the back of a gruelling summer - the longest in English cricket

Andrew Strauss is relishing England’s trip to the ICC Champions Trophy following their morale-boosting four-wicket win over Australia at the Riverside.

Strauss and his team-mates will open their campaign against Sri Lanka in Johannesburg on Friday, aiming to build on victory in the final match NatWest Series.

The latest challenge comes at the end of a gruelling Ashes summer, but despite the intensity of the schedule the England captain is looking forward to it.

He said: “It’s the Champions Trophy, it’s one of the big events, to be honest.

“I think there’s something very exciting about being in the same couple of hotels as all the best players in the world. It’s quite intoxicating and it’s an event everyone wants to win.

“The schedule is tough, there’s no doubt about that, but that’s international cricket.

“By the looks of things, it’s not going to be changing in the near future, so as players, you need to be as fit as possible and when you have got opportunities to have a rest, you need to take them and make sure you can maintain a consistent level of performance.”

Strauss, however, admitted that his team still have a long way to go before they can achieve their dreams.

Having bowled out the tourists for just 176, thanks in large to Graeme Swann’s career-best one-day international haul of 5-28, he and fellow opener Joe Denly had guided England to 106 without loss when the skipper fell three short of his fifty.

His departure signalled a collapse - four wickets fell for only 12 runs in the space of 27 balls - and it took Paul Collingwood and Tim Bresnan to guide England home with 60 balls to spare.

But bowling hero Swann is convinced a change of scenery can help to revitalise the team and particularly the likes of struggling batsman Ravi Bopara.

He said: “I firmly believe that. Just thinking about Ravi, just the fact that it’s a different bowling attack coming will serve him well and will serve the team well.

“This series seemed ever such a long one once we were 4 or 5-0 down.

“You have got to drive 200 miles and face the same team again who have just smashed us.

“Having won today, we are going away thinking at least we don’t have to play Australia again in the next game, and you never know.

“I wouldn’t be at all surprised if particularly the likes of Ravi go out there and see it as a fresh challenge and smash them all over the place.”

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