Strauss: We won’t be a joke again

CAPTAIN Andrew Strauss has revealed his fear of England becoming “a laughing stock” again is behind his unrelenting quest for improvement – even now his side are No1 in the world.

Strauss has told his players he expects no let-up as they go in search of a 4-0 series whitewash in the final Test against India at The Oval, which starts this morning.

They may have replaced the tourists at the top of the international rankings, but the Middlesex opener remembers all too well the indifferent performances of England sides during his formative years.

“It’s not just our play on the park, the whole structure and set-up has improved dramatically. The days of English cricket being kind of a laughing stock have gone – for good, we hope – for all sorts of reasons,” said Strauss, who expects paceman James Anderson to be passed fit.

“The challenge for us all is to make sure that continues. It’s not a time to take the foot off the gas and be satisfied with ourselves.”