Strauss plays down trouncing Down Under


DHAKA – England skipper Andrew Strauss on Sunday blamed fatigue and injury for his side’s recent 6-1 one-day series pasting by Australia and declared his team were still capable of winning their first 50-over World Cup. England’s mood turned sour after their first successful Ashes test tour in Australia for 24 years in January when the hosts then trounced them at the shorter version of the game.
Strauss, newly arrived in Dhaka ahead of Saturday’s World Cup opening in the sub-continent, told reporters that the series reverse at the end of a long and exhausting Ashes could be discounted as a guide to England’s tournament hopes here.
“We’re here to win it. A six-one defeat is not ideal but we contracted five or six injuries and had only two or three weeks’ rest. Our condition will be different,” he told reporters.
The World Cup tournament begins in Dhaka with an opening match between Bangladesh and India on Saturday. The event is to be jointly hosted by the two countries along with Sri Lanka. Strauss picked India and Sri Lanka, rather than holders Australia, as England’s biggest threats in the challenging conditions of stifling heat and generally lifeless pitches of the sub continent. “There are not many expectations on our shoulders. India and Sri Lanka have much more on their home grounds,” said the England skipper.
“But we have a solid squad, a settled side and our guys are confident after winning the Twenty20 (World) Championship.” A team led by Paul Collingwood in the Caribbean won England’s first world title last year. Despite a relatively under-achieving one-day series in Australia for him, Strauss said the absence through a broken finger of one of their key dangermen with the bat, Eoin Morgan, would be felt in the sub continent.
“It is very frustrating and disappointing for Morgan as he will miss this chance to showcase his skill.” Ravi Bopara took his place in the squad.