Strauss strikes positive note

Injuries to bowlers may be to England's advantage

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England head into the final match of their tour Down Under with captain Andrew Strauss insisting their World Cup hopes have not been damaged by a disappointing one-day series against Australia.

England came into the seven-match series buoyed by Ashes triumph and victory in their previous six one-day international series.

But they have won just one of the six matches so far and will be looking to avoid a 6-1 humiliation in Perth on Sunday.

Graeme Swann (knee/back), Tim Bresnan (calf), Ajmal Shahzad (hamstring) and Paul Collingwood (back) have all flown home early due to injury, while Stuart Broad has also been sidelined for the entire series due to the stomach injury he suffered during the Ashes series.

But apart from Bresnan, all are expected to be fit for the World Cup opener against Holland on February 22 and Strauss believes their returns will significantly boost his side.

The skipper also pointed to some encouraging performances during the current series - when his side have beaten their best ever score against Australia on their home soil on three occasions.

"I'm very optimistic about our World Cup chances. It's obviously disappointing that we haven't done as well in this series as we would have liked but there have been plenty of signs," Strauss said.

"We've been a little bit away from our strongest one-day side in this series, as have Australia, it's not an excuse for us but we are certainly looking forward to having our experienced campaigners back.

"We've got very close to 300 three times and our bowlers have put in some good performances as well.


"We haven't got it together all in one game unfortunately, but there is a lot there to be positive about.

"We've got some players coming back and we're really excited about the type of cricket we are looking to play out there in India."

The conditions on the sub-continent will be very different from those England encountered in Australia and Strauss added: "We've learnt quite a lot during this tour, but how totally relevant it is to the World Cup I'm not so sure.

"The conditions here are very different, and we will have slightly different personnel out there as well, but it is important you keep evolving and you keep learning as a side. What you need to do is learn from where we went wrong.

"The conditions are obviously very different, but you still have to find a way of winning a game of cricket and we haven't done that well enough on this tour.

"There are plenty of positives to take out of it. There is a nice realisation in our squad now that the World Cup is just around the corner and that's an exciting prospect for us.

"After a few days of rest and relaxation we will be ready to get amongst it in Bangladesh."

England's players will have just three days' break between arriving home from Australia and then flying out to Dhaka to begin their World Cup preparations on February 12.

With that in mind, Strauss said the injuries to the bowlers may even help his side.

"The injuries are a bit of a setback, but it looks like the guys are going to be fit for the World Cup so in some ways it might be a blessing in disguise," he added. "The guys will be reasonably fresh."