England v West Indies, 3rd ODI, Edgbaston May 27, 2009

Strauss excited by team potential

Cricinfo staff

Andrew Strauss steps aside from the England captaincy confident that the team can continue their early-season success in the ICC World Twenty20 and build further momentum ahead of the Ashes.

Strauss hands over control to Paul Collingwood for the Twenty20 but leaves the squad in the high spirits after they wrapped up a 2-0 one-day series win against West Indies to follow their convincing Test success.

"I like the way we were clinical right through the Tests and the one-dayers," Strauss said following the 58-run victory at Edgbaston. "New players came in and did well but generally there was a level of consistency there which is very important.

"We are far from the finished article at this stage but what I am really excited about is that the guys are very keen to improve. The work ethic has been tremendous and everything that has happened over the last month can only help us come the first day of the Ashes."

England's successful start to the season has come without Andrew Flintoff, who is expected to be ruled out of the ICC World Twenty20 in the next few days after a slow recovery from knee surgery, while Kevin Pietersen was also absent for the one-dayers after resting an Achilles injury.

Flintoff's fitness is still a key issue to the Ashes series, but England are learning to cope without him and Strauss said that it is vital to have a strong squad. "We always want Fred involved and it has been very frustrating for us, and more importantly for him, that he has picked up these injuries over the last couple of years or so," he said.

"What is absolutely crucial in the long term is having a good squad of players you can pick from so that you don't have to play the same XI in every game."

Strauss has been rested from Middlesex's Twenty20 Cup campaign and will return to action in the County Championship against Essex, at Chelmsford, on June 6.