ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / News

England v West Indies, World Cup 2011, Chennai

Strauss dismisses fatigue factor

Siddarth Ravindran in Chennai

March 16, 2011

Comments: 16 | Text size: A | A

"This is a good time to play England, they have been on the road a long time, in order to stay on in India they have to win," West Indies captain Darren Sammy said on Wednesday, before joking, "Maybe some of them want to go home to their families, you never know."

Much has been made of the England team having spent only four days at home since late October when they departed to Australia for a dominant Ashes campaign. The continuous crush of high-profile cricket combined with the heat and humidity of the subcontinent seems to have taken its toll on the squad, with a string of players picking up fitness problems.

The fast bowler Ajmal Shahzad is the latest casualty, missing Wednesday's practice session at the MA Chidambaram Stadium after falling ill. It is still unclear whether he will recover in time for the must-win match against West Indies on Thursday. "We are not sure at this stage whether that will affect Shahzad's chances of being selected for tomorrow," England captain Andrew Strauss said. Shahzad had taken three wickets in the match against Bangladesh in Chittagong on Friday, and his possible absence increases the chances of James Anderson retaining his place in the XI.

There was better news for England regarding two other key players who were struggling with their fitness, with Strauss and offspinner Graeme Swann both recovering from the stomach bug that preventing them from training on Tuesday. "I'm feeling very well, I was a bit laid low day before night and yesterday morning," Strauss said. "Swann is also recovering well, should be practising today, don't know if he is quite as buoyant as I am, very confident that he'll be fine for tomorrow."

Chris Tremlett could join Tim Bresnan in the England side for their must-win game against West Indies, Chennai, March 16, 2011
Chris Tremlett could join Tim Bresnan in the England side if Ajmal Shahzad's illness doesn't clear © Getty Images

Their most consistent batsman of the tournament, Jonathan Trott, had also been a member of their sick list earlier this week before recovering from a fever. These concerns are in addition to losing influential players Stuart Broad and Kevin Pietersen to injuries. Pietersen's tweet outlining the bright side to his injury added to the claims of homesickness. "Well, as frustrated as I am to be missing the rest of the World Cup & IPL, I'll be at home with my family & friends, I haven't been home properly since 29 Oct.," he had written after being ruled out of the tournament.

Strauss, though, was adamant the time way from home and the amount of cricket England have played over the past six months were not affecting their performance. "We have been on the road for a long time, but fatigue is the last thing on our mind," he said. "Potentially we have got four more games to play before a nice, long break."

The illnesses were common for teams touring the subcontinent, he said. "It's happened to a lot of the sides in this tournament, that guys go down. It's par for the course in this part of the world, we try and take all the precautions, but these things can strike at any stage."

He said the motivation of keeping the campaign for a first World Cup alive was motivation enough for his side. "We know what the prize there is. We are determined to make the most of the opportunity and take that prize," he said. "Fatigue is not an issue for us at the moment, and it won't be until right at the end of the tournament."

The end of the tournament could come as early as Thursday, giving Strauss' team two extra weeks of rest at home, unless they round off their league phase with a win against West Indies and results out of their control go their way.

Siddarth Ravindran is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Comments: 16 
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Posted by sumeet on (March 17, 2011, 12:54 GMT)

I think it is very wrong to say that England are missing their families. Lot of English commentators are using this as a reason for their bad performance. You are representing your country at the highest level. It is as if your soldier is not keen to defend his country because he misses his family.

I think they should accept defeat because of bad play and stop blaming long time spent away from family as a excuse.

Posted by Lalith on (March 17, 2011, 11:38 GMT)

Lucky POMS got at least 11 fit players to put into the field for their last game in this world cup. ENG 151/6 and BAN should be very happy to get qualified for QF.

Posted by Shabbir on (March 17, 2011, 0:52 GMT)

England have been entertaining for everybody. Their presence will sadly be mised but as a Bangladeshi supporter I hope they get their A**es handed to them!

Posted by Khan on (March 16, 2011, 20:40 GMT)

well ENG will b home very soon.....coz i think they r not gonna make it against WI. Most of the players r sick n also not in very good form.....so they can pack their luggage for fridays flight.

Posted by shameem on (March 16, 2011, 19:50 GMT)

Wanted to see England into next stage -- but my endangered species Bangla Tigers will be in danger then -- facing must win against mighty South Africa. So, as you guess what I would be hoping for (Randall Duff, Doug Lindsey, SOS, are you there?)

Posted by Allan on (March 16, 2011, 19:37 GMT)

Clearly, England have lost the glow of the Ashes.

Posted by kumar on (March 16, 2011, 18:17 GMT)

Just getting a feeling that England will win the worldcup!!

Posted by MA on (March 16, 2011, 17:47 GMT)

i really want WI to win tomorrow, not only because I want england to go out but because the way they have beaten the associate sides shows that they have been performing better than expected. england on the other sides i dont know why are still considered favourites because they won ashes which seems like a history now and then they lost 6-1 to australia and got beaten by bang and ire. im sure if it was any other team coming into the wcup after such a heavy smashing in australia they wouldnt have been given the slightest of chance to win the wcup....its all because of the english media which creates hype for no reason!

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 16, 2011, 17:40 GMT)

A big pressure game gona on zoooooooooooooo

Posted by Roland on (March 16, 2011, 16:11 GMT)

England will be booted from the world cup by West Indies, who have shown they are a much better side in this tournament.

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