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Strauss pledges England World Cup improvement
by AFP


Ground:Lord's Cricket Ground, St John's Wood
Player:AJ Strauss
Event:Pakistan in British Isles 2006

DateLine: 4th September 2006

 

Andrew Strauss insisted England would be a "lot better" by the time of next year's World Cup after they slumped to the eighth limited overs defeat of his captaincy.

 

Strauss, on his Lord's home ground, was powerless to prevent Pakistan's comfortable seven-wicket win as the tourists went 1-0 up in the five-match one-day series.

 

It was the lastest reverse in a disappointing run of one-day results for England, who so far this season have lost Twenty20s against both Sri Lanka and Pakistan as well as going down 5-0 to the Lankans in a one-day series.

 

With the World Cup in the West Indies now just six months away, England's hopes of lifting the trophy for the first time in their history look bleak, even if star all-rounder Andrew Flintoff returns in time from an ankle problem.

 

England were always up against it at on Saturday where fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar took four for 28, including the wicket of Strauss for a first-ball nought, as the hosts were bowled out for 166 in overcast conditions.

 

Recalled seamer Jon Lewis briefly gave England hope when he took two early wickets.

 

But England's day was summed up when he had Younis Khan, who went on to make 55, caught behind for 15 off a no-ball that was marginal at best.

 

But Strauss insisted there was plenty of time for England's luck to change.

 

"The World Cup is still a long way away. We've got a lot of guys who are early in their one-day careers and they can only get better.

 

"And I expect us to get a lot better by the time the World Cup comes.

 

"All you can do is back your technique, back your ability, back the talent in your team. If we do that we have a decent chance of bouncing back in this series," he added.

 

"The most important thing for us is that we remain positive and go out and play in a positive manner."

 

Reflecting on England's innings, Strauss added: "It probably wasn't one of the best tosses to lose.

 

"But all credit to their bowlers - they took advantage of those conditions magnificently.

 

"It is very easy when you are bowling in those conditions to try too much to bowl people, but I thought they got it just about bang on," Strauss told reporters after seeing Akhtar and Mohammad Asif reduce England to 18 for three.

 

The one plus point for England was the form of Lewis (two for 11 off eight overs), playing his first one-day international in over a year.

 

"I'm really pleased for him," said Strauss. "He showed he can exploit those conditions against the best batsmen in the world.

 

"He's been waiting in the wings and chomping at the bit to get a run-out. When he did get it he stuck to the basics and they paid off for him."

 

The series continues with Tuesday's floodlit fixture at the Rose Bowl.

(Article: Copyright © 2006 AFP)



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