Forget Ashes, beat Pakistan
CAPTAIN Andrew Strauss has urged his England side to turn their attentions away from the Ashes series and concentrate on beating Pakistan.
Strauss’ side return to Test duty after almost two months away when they host the Pakistanis in the first match of a four-Test series at Trent Bridge, starting this morning.
The series is being billed as an indicator of form as England plan the defence of their
Ashes urn this winter.
But with Pakistan themselves fresh from a three-wicket win over Australia at Headingley last week, the talismanic Strauss has warned his men not to take their foot off the gas by looking too far ahead.
“It’s a big challenge,” he admitted. “We saw against Australia that the Pakistan side is a dangerous one full of talent. They are used to the conditions so we don’t have that to surprise them.
“We are going to have to be at our best to win it and that’s a good thing for us, not only ahead of the Ashes but generally because we want to play at our best and hopefully beat the best.
“In some ways it’s a precursor because there’s a lot of attention towards the Ashes and we can understand that. [But] it’s wrong to look at any series and look beyond it.
“All we can do is play well in the series, win the series and go from this series to Australia with a lot of confidence. We’ve been waiting for it for a little bit now, it’s probably a step up from Bangladesh and that’s what we need.”
England yesterday recalled all-rounder Tim Bresnan to the12-man squad after an ankle injury forced seamer Ajmal Shahzad to pull out.
Strauss, however, says Shahzad’s withdrawal was purely a precaution and expects the Yorkshire pace man to return for the second Test at Edgbaston next week.
“It’s disappointing,” the skipper admitted. “He’s gone away to undergo further treatment and we hope he’ll be OK for the second Test.”
Batsman Kevin Pietersen also suffered a scare when he tripped over a ball during the warm-up, but he escaped unhurt.