Wednesday, October 7, 2009

England must learn from 2005, says Strauss

Andrew Strauss has said there is "very little danger" of England resting on the euphoria of their Ashes success this summer as a new season begins. England's next Test assignment is in South Africa later this year and Strauss felt that series would be a good indicator of where the team was as a competitive side.

According to Strauss, England should be wary of falling prey to too much celebration after regaining the coveted urn, like they did after the historic summer of 2005. "There are definitely lessons to be learned [from 2005]. The perception was we took the eye off the ball after the Ashes series," he said at the launch of his second book, Testing Times. "Whether that's true or not, I think it's vitally important we don't do it this time. We haven't had a month off to bask in the glory of the Ashes, we've been playing cricket since then and we've had some tough times.

"I think there is very little danger of us thinking we're the genuine article at this stage. There's also a test tour to South Africa, they're the number one side in the world and that's a massive ask for us. The extent of the challenge ahead of us is very motivating and exciting so we will keep grounded and it will also be a great gauge to see where we are at as a side."

England are ranked fifth in the ICC's Test rankings, winning their last two series after losing three in a row, and Strauss felt that position was a fair reflection of their current form. "The way the guys stood up to pressure in the Ashes is very encouraging but sterner tests will follow,' he said. "The consistency aspect's crucial, if you look back to when Australia were dominating the world they could beat sides on any surface because they had great variety in their side. If we want to be the best side in the world, which is clearly a long-term goal of ours, then big improvements are required in that respect."

The national selectors will reveal the Test and limited-overs squads for South Africa on Thursday. Kevin Pietersen, has not played since July due to injury, is expected back. "KP is getting better quite quickly now so we are very hopeful he will make the trip," said Strauss. "Hopefully he will play in some one-dayers and then a full part in the rest of the series. The sooner he is back the better. It's going to be as hard a series as we could possibly have at this stage of our development."

England play four Tests, five ODIs and two Twenty20 internationals in South Africa.

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