Lack of batsmen means opener must press on January 25, 2007

'We can't rest Strauss' - Fletcher

Cricinfo staff

Runs have been hard to come by for Andrew Strauss of late © Getty Images

Duncan Fletcher would like to rest the struggling Andrew Strauss but said he was hamstrung by the England squad's lack of replacement batsmen. Strauss, who has made 12, 28, 18 and 19 in his four CB Series innings, will need to plug on at the top of England's order in an effort to turn around his disappointing tour.

With Strauss' fellow opener Michael Vaughan already injured and replaced by the ageing newcomer Mal Loye, England are keen to retain the experienced Strauss in their top order. Should they wish to, they could bring in Ravinder Bopara, the uncapped Essex batsman, and push Ian Bell up a spot to open. Bell filled the role during the Champions Trophy but Fletcher appeared not to consider that an option in the CB Series.

"We try to give them rests, but with the players missing at the moment we haven't got a batter here to replace Strauss," Fletcher told The Age. "If we did, we would probably look at giving him a rest. Thoughts about resting players and when is best to do so are going through our heads all the time."

Fletcher said Strauss, who had a mediocre Ashes series and has been on the wrong end of a string of questionable umpiring decisions, would simply need to find some runs. "There is pressure on him," Fletcher said.

"He knows we have got to bat around him. He knows he is the centre of that batting order at the moment. These are two very good one-day sides we are playing against. He is struggling with that pressure at the moment."