Strauss backing skipper Swann

Test skipper says new T20 man will do a good job at the Oval

Last Updated: 23/09/11 10:46am

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Andrew Strauss is confident Graeme Swann will cut down on the wisecracks and be a mature captain in this weekend's two-match Twenty20 series against the West Indies.

Swann was handed the captain's armband after shoulder injuries sidelined skipper Stuart Broad and his vice-captain Eoin Morgan.

The off-spinner is a popular figure among England fans and within the dressing room thanks to the role he has taken on as the team joker.

The 32-year-old insists, however, he will cut down on the jokes this weekend and be a serious England captain for the double-header against the tourists, and Strauss has backed the Nottinghamshire man to take to the role with ease.

"I think he will do a really good job," said Strauss. "He has always been a very important part of the dressing room and the sort of guy who other people listen to, so he will do a great job.

"He is under no illusion that he will be taking over as the full-time captain tomorrow, but I think it will do him good, he will enjoy it."

Memorable year

Strauss has enjoyed a memorable year as England skipper in the Test format, reclaiming the Ashes down under before going on to displace India at the top of the ICC rankings with a 4-0 hammering of Mahendra Singh Dhoni's side.

Under new captain Alastair Cook, England's one-day international team then beat the tourists 3-0 in the 50-over format while the hosts also beat Dhoni's team in their only Twenty20 contest.

England will play the Indians again next month in five ODIs and one Twenty20 and, despite pummelling Dhoni's men this summer, Strauss expects beating them on their home turf will be much harder.

"I am sure they will be a different prospect in India," said Strauss, who was speaking at the Professional Cricketers' Association awards in London on Thursday.

"It will be a lot harder for our guys. They will want to avenge their defeat but the guys go there full of confidence. It will be a good test for them."

After their visit to India, England take on Pakistan in three Tests, four ODIs and three T20s in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, and despite topping the rankings after a memorable 12 months Strauss thinks his side will have to improve to beat Pakistan.

"Subcontinental cricket is always difficult for English sides," the opener said.

"We need to react well and probably need to take our game to a new level to play well out there and that will be a good challenge for us now having played so well this summer."

Hunger

After routing India in what was expected to be a tough assignment, Strauss is aware that his side may become prone to complacency.

He hopes the likes of Ben Stokes and Jonathan Bairstow, who have impressed recently in the shorter forms of the game, will keep the Test team on their toes.

"The future is looking reasonably bright," Strauss added. "The most important thing now is to maintain that drive and hunger to keep improving. If we do that we should go on and play well.

"We have more options than we had two or three years ago. At that stage we were relying on tried and tested players but we have got some new ones coming through now who are putting their hands up now so that's encouraging.

"There is always a new challenge around the corner. This winter presents us with big challenges and then we have South Africa. The Ashes aren't too far away either.

"If you sit back and rest on your laurels for any sort of time, other teams will catch you pretty quickly."

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