Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Bullish Strauss Is Unflinching; My Side Will Play without Fear, Says Skipper

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Bullish Strauss Is Unflinching; My Side Will Play without Fear, Says Skipper

Article excerpt

ENGLAND will enter today's must-win World Cup match against West Indies stalked by ill health and inconsistent form, writes DAVID CLOUGH.

However captain Andrew Strauss, himself recovered from a stomach upset, insists his team will play without fear as they seek to stay involved in a competition they have never won in nine previous attempts.

Strauss and key spinner Graeme Swann were able to practise yesterday, having been struck down with tummy trouble over the previous 48 hours.

Yet even as he was delivering that good news, Strauss had to report Ajmal Shahzad as the latest to succumb to illness. With James Anderson apparently thought by management to be urgently due a rest after his exhausting winter schedule, England's options may be compromised further should anyone else fall ill before the teams are exchanged.

Anderson's wild inconsistency has been in stark contrast to his reliability and effectiveness on England's successful Ashes tour.

He is hardly the only individual to have lurched to extremes, or failed to produce his best, in a stuttering campaign which has featured a win against South Africa at today's venue and a tie against tournament favourites India but also defeats to Ireland and Bangladesh.

By those means, England have put themselves in the predicament of needing to win at all costs in their final Group B match to have any chance of reaching the quarter-finals.

Strauss, however, is optimistic. "It is a one-off and, we hope, the start of a series of one-offs. I think the juices are flowing and there are a few butterflies in the stomach - which is a great sign for us. We have done well in big matches over the last couple of years. The equation is very simple, and this isn't a time to go into our shells - we have to got out there and take the West Indies on."

As for Anderson, Strauss unsurprisingly declined to confirm or deny the pace spearhead will be dropped.

"Jimmy has had a tough time in some of the games in the World Cup so far, but we all know what a qualify performer he is."

England can be expected to play two specialist spinners at a venue where both Swann and the seamers found significant help in that much-needed win over South Africa. …

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