Strauss calls for cool heads


Published: Wednesday 1st July 2015 by The News Editor

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Andrew Strauss would like to see England keep their emotions in check during the heat of a fierce Ashes battle but insisted they cannot take a backward step against Australia.

The topic of sledging is never far from the surface when the two nations contest the little urn, and several members of the touring Australian side are steadfast that there will be no let up from their side.

Indeed, they have poured scorn on some of England’s recent attempts to purely focus on the game and keep on-field words to a minimum.

England’s director of cricket Strauss, who captained his nation to Ashes success home and away, knows from experience an Ashes series brings a pressure like no other but believes not allowing their emotions to boil over could hold the key for the hosts.

They have just returned from a four-day training camp in Spain, where the issue of sledging in itself was not discussed, according to Strauss, who nevertheless maintained England must fight their corner in the five-Test series, which gets under way at Cardiff next Wednesday.

“An Ashes series there’s going to be higher emotions, more pressure there, it’s much harder to play (positive) cricket in that environment but that doesn’t mean you should just throw your hand up and say it’s impossible,” he told BBC Radio 5 Live.

“Ultimately it’s about making sure you’re willing to stand up to the opposition, you can never take a backward step in international sport, that’s a given.

“From my point of view and certainly in my experience with the England side, if you can play with as little emotion as possible and control that emotion then you’re going to get a slight edge on the opposition.

“Those are the sorts of discussions that England have been having over the last few days.”

England took a 14-man squad on a camp near Almeria, where Strauss says a number of meetings discussing the Ashes series took place, as well as fielding drills, including working on the much-maligned slip cordon.

The most important part of the trip, though, was to bond with new coach Trevor Bayliss.

“It was really important that we got everyone together just to meet Trevor Bayliss before the start of the Ashes…but also to get people together to start thinking about what’s coming up over the next seven weeks,” Strauss added.

“There’s a lot of preparation work that needs to go in both physically and mentally, and it’s always better to do that out of the bubble and get out of the prying eyes of the media, stop players thinking about anything other than what they need to do over the course of the next seven weeks or so.

“So I think in that regard the camp was a really brilliant success; everyone got to know Trevor, he was able to give everyone a bit of a flavour and indication as to what his philosophy is and they move onto Cardiff in really great spirits and really excited about the prospect of taking on those Aussies.”

The squad for the first Test will be announced on Wednesday – although Strauss was giving little away.

“Just wait, there’s plenty of time to speculate, you’ll see it there on Wednesday,” he added.

Published: Wednesday 1st July 2015 by The News Editor

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