England captain Andrew Strauss has said his team will take the field this summer and go “blow for blow” against Australia. Strauss, whose first Ashes series was his in 2005 when England regained the urn after 18 years, chose not too delve too far back into that epic summer when chalking up the home side’s chances.
“It’s unhelpful to look back too much to 2005,” said Strauss at Edgbaston. “This is going to be a very different series and it would be wrong to expect things to go in a similar manner. What I take from 2005 is how close those games were and how hard it was to finish them off. There were times we were right on top and maybe we didn’t have enough belief to do that. One of the things we have been trying to work on is to be very clinical so that when we get on top of teams we finish them off once and for all. That’s going to be important in the coming days.”
Strauss said to seriously compete with Australia, England would have to be prepared to scrap. “Anybody who goes in there and just thinks ‘Oh no, we’ll just stick to our own game’ is going to come unstuck. Our players are absolutely certain that they will go out there and go blow for blow.”
He was, however, wary of overdoing that competitiveness. “There’s a fine line between aggression and being over the top so we have to check that line carefully,” said Strauss. “I think we know the type of cricket we need to play to beat the Aussies, we just need to go out and play it.”
Strauss was eager to point out that England will not be overly dependent on Andrew Flintoff and Kevin Pietersen. “You don’t win Ashes series unless all 11 play a big part”, he said. “If Fred bowls with aggression no player in the world is going to enjoy that. I still think there are some scars in their side. Maybe some of their batsman haven’t faced him very much before but they will have watched that series four years ago and know that when he’s good he’s very, very good.”
Pietersen’s failures in the warm-up against Warwickshire at Edgbaston didn’t deter Strauss. “KP hasn’t changed his style of batting in four years. I don’t expect him to this time. KP is a man for the big occasion,” he said. “I wasn’t overly surprised he didn’t get many runs in the Warwickshire game, but come that first Test match you know that’s he’s going to be switched on and keen to make his mark on the series right from ball one. He backs himself against any bowler, he backed himself against [Shane] Warne and [Glenn] McGrath and he will do that against these bowlers. His number-one asset is his confidence”.
Strauss was pleased with England’s build-up to the Ashes, even though their main competition in recent Tests has been West Indies. “I like where we’re at. I thought there were some really encouraging signs against the West Indies, there was good, controlled aggression and we were clinical,” he said. “We’re not going to know for certain until we go out there against the Australians, but the signs are good, and I like the characters we have got in the side. I don’t see any that are going to be open to exploitation and that’s vital.”
While there has been plenty of understandable anticipation leading up to Glamorgan’s big day, Strauss said his players “will be walking into the unknown” when they take the field in Cardiff. “We are not entirely sure what to expect. Both teams will go there not knowing what to expect, and we can only judge when the Test match is over,” he said. “In world cricket home advantage counts for a huge amount.”
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Post InfoThis entry was posted on Sunday, July 5th, 2009 and is filed under Cricket, General.
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