Andrew Strauss was recently appointed as the director of England cricket. In his stint so far, he has done a tremendous job as the England side now looks far more confident than before and exhibits a sense of clear direction and purpose. Strauss, who himself led England to victories in the 2009 and 2010/11 Ashes series’ spoke about the upcoming series on the sidelines of a charity event.

Strauss said that the English were much focussed to beat the visiting Australians, who haven’t won a single series in England since 2001. “It makes you realise that the Ashes is not about life and death,” Strauss said. “It’s a game of cricket. It’s a number of games of cricket between two very passionate sides who desperately want to win,” said Strauss.

“We don’t need to build it into something it’s not. Ultimately our team are going to be very focussed to go out there and beat Australia, as every team that’s represented England will do so. But that kind of war rhetoric when it comes to the Ashes is unhelpful. The players should be competitive, they should stand up to each other and play in the right sort of spirit, and if we do so it will be a great advertisement for the game of cricket,” continued the former England captain.

Strauss also spoke about the style in which the England side played the Ashes. Post the 2013 Ashes, there was a general feeling among English fans that even though England got to the desired results, they didn’t play in an attractive style. “The reason people weren’t all that impressed in 2013 was because they’d got very used to us winning Ashes series,” he said. “Ultimately, it’s very hard to come out of an Ashes series as a loser and be pretty happy with yourself. It is about winning and losing, as professional sport is generally.”

“But I do think everyone involved in English cricket got a real lift from the two series against New Zealand. They got a lift from the way those games were played and the type of cricket England played. It made us all appreciate and understand the importance of engaging with the public.” “Ultimately we are in the entertainment business and people have a choice whether they turn on cricket on television or go and watch a cricket match or do something different. We’ve got an obligation to make the product one that people want to watch,” said Strauss.

The director of England cricket also said that skipper Alastair Cook would definitely try some new things. “As I said at the start of the summer I think Cook is very much the man to take the England Test team forward,” Strauss said. “He’s had two Test matches, he’s played well and I think he has captained well. So my opinion hasn’t changed in any way.

“None of us know what’s going to happen over the next five Test matches so it would be wrong to speculate about what goes on after the end of this series. But at the moment he is the right man. I also know he is incredibly motivated for this series; from a team level he is going into this series in a better frame of mind than he has been for some time.

“I think Alastair is in a phase of his career where he is not afraid to try new things. I know from my experience that when you’ve been involved with English cricket for a long time it’s quite nice to have that sort of fresh change of thinking. I am sure he and Trevor Bayliss will forge a very strong partnership,” concluded Strauss. 

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