Strauss: It’s time to focus on the future

ENGLAND captain Andrew Strauss has warned any member of his squad still dwelling on the successes of the Ashes winter will risk undermining his goal of being part of the No1 Test team in the world.

England’s taxing summer schedule begins today, with the start of the first of three Tests against Sri Lanka, and culminates with four Tests against top-ranked India.

Strauss is eager to build on the landmark victory over Australia, the first Ashes win by and England side Down Under for 24 years, but reminded his players the time to reflect on that glory has passed and the focus should now firmly be on the challenges that lie ahead.

“To be honest, this is not a homecoming. If we were going to have a homecoming, that would have taken place a long time ago,” he said. “This is the start of a new cycle in a way. It is the start of a very busy and difficult summer for us and it is hopefully an opportunity for us to make a step forward to becoming No1 in the world.

“That excites us and I think for us to be thinking too much back to what happened in Sydney at this stage is not helpful. We have got to learn lessons from what we did well in Australia and put those into practice again.”

If England are to achieve their targets they will need their troubled ace in the pack, Kevin Pietersen, to make a return to form and fitness. Strauss’ forthcoming Ashes diary suggested Pietersen “wants desperately to be liked, but does not know the best way around it”.

Asked about those words himself, Strauss said: “The point I was trying to make [in the book] was that everything KP does is analysed to the Nth degree. The perception of him outside the dressing room is often very different to the perception of him inside the dressing room.

“He’s been a massive part of our success over last five or six years and I have no doubt whatsoever he will continue to be so for years to come.”