ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / News

England v South Africa, Group B, World Cup 2011, Chennai

'We're good at bouncing back' - Strauss

Firdose Moonda in Chennai

March 5, 2011

Comments: 22 | Text size: A | A

While Ireland were painting Bangalore green on Tuesday night, there were fifteen very blue men lurking nearby. Nobody noticed and why should they have? They were celebrating a coup and they didn't need the ex-Kings doing it with them.

Rather than allow their heads to be cut off and paraded on pikes, Andrew Strauss and his men accepted defeat and decided to join in. They had a drink with the victorious Ireland team because it was "the right thing to do." Strauss held his head high as he explained why England had no problem partaking in some of the day's joy. "You should win with class and lose with class."

Even in the midst of the chaos that has caused England to become the first victims to an Associate nation in this tournament, Strauss retained composure. Even in the midst of being questioned, over and over again, about the weakness of his bowling attack, Strauss smiled and explained, answering each question thoughtfully. Even in the midst of being told he was the leader of a failed fielding side, Strauss kept his cool and spoke with the same even-tone throughout. That's class.

"I've learnt that if you bowl and field poorly, there's a good chance you will lose games of cricket," he said when asked what he'd been mulling over in the past few days. "There are going to be high-scoring games and if there is any slight edge you get in the field, will stand you in good stead."

He had accepted that the performance while bowling was up to no good but admitted that this attack wasn't helped by the pitch in Bangalore, where it conceded two scores over 300. "When you come across a very flat wicket, the margin of error goes down and that's why we haven't quite been able to do what we want to do."

The Chennai pitch is a different beast. It's not the liveliest but Strauss's assessment of it is that it will offer a little more. "The wicket looks grassless, hard and dry. There will be something in it for at least some of the bowlers."

Andrew Strauss speaks to reporters in Bangalore, Bangalore, February 26, 2011
Andrew Strauss expects more for the bowlers on the Chennai track © AFP

It's taking whatever there is and making it work for them that may present England with a challenge. Barring Graeme Swann, the rest of their attack has looked ordinary and, at times, purposeless. But Strauss added that the bowlers have "a lot of clarity" about what they need to do, and they will prove that against South Africa. "We will bowl to our plans against them. We know their players pretty well, it's not like we will get any surprise packages."

South Africa and England last played a one-day series in the 2009-10 season in South Africa, where the hosts were beaten. James Anderson and Stuart Broad were the two leading bowlers in that series, taking eight and six wickets respectively. They also played a series in 2008 in England, who were winners this time, too. Broad was the second highest wicket-taker, with eight scalps. It's not just the familiarity of the South African team that Strauss is talking about but the familiarity of beating them. For two bowlers who seem horribly out of it at the moment, Anderson and Broad, it's the familiarity of taking wickets against them.

South Africa's middle order has been untested at this World Cup and Strauss sees that as an opportunity to get his bowlers back in the groove. With Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers dominating time at the crease, the likes of Faf du Plessis and whoever will fill that troublesome No.7 spot have not had much match time. As a result of that, "maybe the middle order hasn't got the pace of the wicket very well," Strauss said . Scoring runs hasn't been much of a problem for England so far and they won't be thrown off if South African's mystery man, Imran Tahir, plays, because most of the England batsmen have seen him on the county circuit. "When he first came to England I played with him at Middlesex," Strauss said. "I have since played against him. The guys from Warwickshire also know him well. We know what he brings to the party quite clearly."

What's just as lucid to the England side is how crucial it will be for them to recover, and recover quickly enough to launch an immediate challenge against the rampant South African side, "You've got to put defeats behind you very quickly. The great thing about this tournament is that you have the opportunity to get back on the bike straight away." Strauss said. Then, with a half a grin and a quiet confidence that never let his class slip for a second he added. "We're good at bouncing back."

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

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Comments: 22 
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Posted by Karen on (March 6, 2011, 1:58 GMT)

Englands bowling attack is woeful. If your going to concede approx 300 runs per game your not going to win many games. I hope they turn it around and beat Sth Africa just to make group B interesting. The world cup will be won by Australia, India, Sri Lanka or Sth Africa as they have the bowling attacks to win.

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 6, 2011, 0:40 GMT)

I like the comment by Mr Cpt.Meanster "I hope England win this contest simply for the sake of creating a thriller situation in Group B. If England win then that would keep them in the reckoning for the 3rd or 4th place before the knock out stages."

What an analysis of the Group B situation. Lets hope that happens and we get to see some interesting and challenging cricket!

Posted by Lalith on (March 5, 2011, 23:41 GMT)

FOR me ENG is unpredictable than PAKS now. If SWANN & YARDY can make magic, ENG can win. Looking forward to very interesting match.

Posted by paul on (March 5, 2011, 22:19 GMT)

@spelele Do you actually follow cricket or do you just troll, because that's all you seem to do. If you know anything about England cricket, you know they are good at bouncing back from losses, like Headingley v Aus in '09, Ban in '10,Pakistan in '10, Perth in Ashes, the fact is, they've only lost 1 Odi series in all formats in 2 years they haven't needed to bounce back that often, but they usually do when needed. What more they've beaten SA 7 out of the last 8 meetings and most of that was in your own back yard.

Posted by Steve on (March 5, 2011, 22:03 GMT)

Win or lose (and somebody usually has to) the pure CLASS of Andrew Strauss makes this Englishman proud! Can you imagine an Indian/Australian/ S African captain being so eloquent about defeat? That's one of the many things I've always admired about the Windies too.... they seem to enjoy the selves and understand that it's only a game! Let's hope England can improve and win this one - I know that they desperately want to put the ghost of Ireland behind them! Class stuff from Straussy though....... COME ON ENGLAND!!!

Posted by Bhaskar on (March 5, 2011, 22:01 GMT)

UK will crush Safrica. Indians will crush Safrica too, then Safrica go home without any joy this world cup. Common UK this is the time to beat Safrica. Strauss play another superb innings like you scored against India.

Posted by Dilip on (March 5, 2011, 21:58 GMT)

Strauss may or may not be the best captain around as far as on-field strategy goes; but he does have class. He is composed in defeat (and in victory), refuses to lose his head, continues to quietly have confidence in himself and his team. England is fortunate to have him as a leader.

Posted by Andrew on (March 5, 2011, 21:31 GMT)

@spelele - How in the hell was Strauss's slaughter of the Poms SELFISH???? Thats a pretty unique view, probably NOT shared by 99.99% of the cricket loving world!!!! @sri1ram - Yes, Smith certainly learned the hard way, particularly when Fleming's Kiwis handed them a humiliating home soil defeat after some rather obnoxious comments from Smith PRE-TOUR! He is a LOT more reserved in his talk these days! In general it was good to see Strauss & his team having a brew or two with the Irish. I could be cynical & say he was trying to lure O'Brien over to England, but that wouldn't be nice! LOL!!!!!

Posted by Agus on (March 5, 2011, 21:08 GMT)

It is too late, as your mate Broad said earlier better to leave this WC before meet Pakistan lol

Posted by Rohan on (March 5, 2011, 21:02 GMT)

i am indian , bt i jst love england, nt only as a cricket team bt also as country, i worked in durham fr 2 yrs, its a beautiful country with lovely people,and its sooooooo clean, i dnt knw why every one say british people r arrogant, if india fail to 2 win d cup, i surely want england 2 win, go england i love u, best of luck.....

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