Strauss confident of retaining Ashes Down Under

October 28th, 2010 - 9:39 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Oct 28 (IANS) England captain Andrew Strauss feels his side is well-prepared, and he is confident of retaining the Ashes, beginning Nov 25 in Brisbane.

The squad fly out to Perth Friday and Strauss and his players will be eyeing history by becoming the first England side to win in Australia since 1986-87.

“We feel very well prepared,” Strauss said.

“It’s going to be a hard challenge but there is a relaxed determination in making sure we come back with the Urn.”

“We fully expect our squad to be 100 percent fit.”

It has been a successful year for England, but Strauss insists he is not unduly concerned by the weight of expectations.

“We all feel a slight burden of responsibility, but that is mixed in with a huge amount of pride at representing our country in what is a massive series,” he said.

“From my own point of view, I’m relaxed but excited about our prospects. We have had a lot of success over the last 18 months, so confidence levels are very high.”

The English players underwent a rigorous training in Germany which contained some bouts of boxing between the players, resulted in reported rib injuries to bowlers James Anderson and Chris Tremlett.

“I want to stress we got some really good results from that trip,” said Strauss, adding that he hoped Anderson would be fit “well before” the Brisbane Test. He said Tremlett had a “very minor niggle” which has not affected his preparations.

“We’ve prepared as well as we can do in the time we’ve had available to us, we’ve been thinking about this Ashes series for a long time now.”

“It’s a huge challenge going to Australia and winning, but we’ve left no stone unturned in making sure we hit the ground running out there.”

“We’ve got an excellent chance of winning out there; we’re a good, nice tight unit, we pretty much know what to expect I think and can’t wait to get out there now,” Strauss said.

Australia has dropped to fifth in the Test rankings following their 0-2 loss to India but English captain is not giving too much importance to the rankings.

“It’s pretty irrelevant what the rankings say. They are a very strong side at home and we expect them to be a very tough side to get on top of.”

Strauss made it clear that they will be targeting Australian skipper Ricky Ponting.

“The great player in their ranks is Ricky Ponting and he is the one guy that it’s important we get on top of early in the series. As captain he has a responsibility to lead the side and his record in Ashes series is very good.

“But neither side is going to be significantly different from the last time we played so we’ll know each other pretty well.”

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