Monday, 14 February 2011

Strauss bullish over England's World Cup hopes

With the cricket World Cup under a week away it has been interesting to hear the respective press conferences from the team captains as they seek to build up – or play down – their sides hopes and expectations.

England skipper Andrew Strauss, whose team is the last of the 14 competing sides to arrive in the sub-continent, was confident about his side's chances and believes they are capable of springing a surprise.

He quite rightly cited last spring's T20 World Cup success as a sign England can finally win the matches that matter in ICC tournaments. That first ever tournament win has relieved a burden that was growing ever heaver since the first ever ODI World Cup in 1975 and the goalwire latest scores don't suggest things will be tough again.

But Strauss brings with him a squad battered and bruised following a gruelling three month tour of Australia with some key players like Eoin Morgan ruled out of the tournament completely.

There is also the small matter of a 6-1 hammering at the hands of the Aussies in the one-day series down under, meaning the squad carries the unenviable hat-trick of being depleted, half-fit and out-of-form, fans will no doubt be hoping for an improvement in the live cricket scores over the next few weeks.

Strauss was keen to find the positives in what was a press conference very much designed to put a positive spin on his side's recent troubles. He claimed the injuries suffered by the likes of Graeme Swann, Tim Bresnan and Stuart Broad means they will be well rested by the time the action kicks off (I would say they will not be match-fit but Strauss is obviously a glass half-full kind of guy at the moment).

Those players will need to hit the ground running as they face a tricky opener against the Netherlands on February 19th. Though not a test playing nation, the Dutch did manage to beat England at Lord's in the 2009 T20 World Cup, a sign of their increasing competitiveness on the world stage.

It is easy to gloss over your team's troubles with comforting words and a beaming smile in front of the media. But when the action kicks-off in the white hot atmosphere of a sub-continent cricket
ground, those words will help very little.

1 comment:

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