Exclusive Interview November 6, 2003

Strauss - ' I was expecting a Test call-up, not a one-day one'

Andy Strauss, the Middlesex captain and opener, is on his first senior tour with England. Even though he is likely to be Marcus Trescothick's understudy, he can't wait for the matches to begin. Freddie Auld had a chat with him before he flew out:

Andy Strauss: 'I need to learn quickly'
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How have you been preparing for the one-day series in Bangladesh?
I've been confined to indoor nets for most of the time, and been keeping myself as fit as possible in the gym. My preparation hasn't been ideal as I know the conditions will be draining when I get out there, but I've just got to get on with what I've got.

Have you played in Asia before?
I spent two weeks at a spin clinic in India last February, so that will help me get used to the climate. I also discovered how friendly and vibrant the people are out there. I'm really excited about going.

Do you know much about the Bangladesh one-day side? Did you watch the Test matches?
Not really to be honest. I've been on a training camp with the rest of the one-day players not in the Test team, and we watched footage of them, which helped. We've got to react pretty quickly out there. We pointed out Enamul Haque junior, the promising 17-year-old, and Mohammad Rafique. They're both good spinners, but I'm confident of playing against spin, partly from my time in India and also that I have a game-plan against them which is to take out my high-risk shots.

Were you disappointed not to have been picked for the Test squad? Rumour had it that you made it.
Yeah, I heard those rumours too, and I was more expecting a call-up for the Test squad rather than the one-day squad. I've been in better form in four-day cricket for Middlesex, but been successful in the limited-overs matches as well. But I'm delighted to be going on an international tour and at having the opportunity to show what I can do. Hopefully I will do enough and can stay in the team. I'll definitely learn loads about one-day cricket, I'm sure it will be different from the domestic competitions, so I need to learn quickly.

Do you know any of the other players in the England squad?
There aren't any others from Middlesex going, but I know most of them through county cricket, and got to know some at the academy. It will be interesting to see how it all works between us and the Test players already out there, but I'm sure it will be fine.

What were you going to be doing this winter if you hadn't been picked?
Well, I had thought of doing some work experience with Wisden Cricinfo, and also in the city. I like cricket writing and I am doing bits and pieces for The Independent while I'm on tour.

Are you looking ahead to the 2007 World Cup?
Oh no. It's very important to take one step at a time, do as well as I can and give it my best shot. It's dangerous to look too far ahead. But I feel ready for it. I feel comfortable.

You had a good season with Middlesex, what's your view on the county game?
It's a vitally important part of English cricket. It's dangerous to just dismiss it, as some have been doing recently. As long as it continues to keep its intensity, which it does, then I'm a big fan of the system. We've got really good players coming through. It's dangerous if the selectors don't look at county cricket for potential international players.

Would you make any changes?
Well, we do play too much. It would be good to reduce the season to 12 or 13 games, but I still enjoy it. It's very easy to belittle it, but it's definitely bringing players closer the England set-up.

And what's your prediction for the ODI series?
We're hoping to win 3-0. We have by far the more experienced side, but you can't just turn up expecting to win. Winning's part of a process, and we'll have to get that right to be successful.