Ashes

Warne on Strauss: Get ruthless

2011-01-03 12:58
Shane Warne (File)

Sydney - Australia great Shane Warne has said Andrew Strauss must stop "missing a lot tactically" if England are to achieve their goal of becoming the world's best Test side.

And he added England had to be more ruthless if they were to leapfrog the likes of India and South Africa and become international cricket's pre-eminent team.

Strauss became the first England captain to retain the Ashes in 24 years last week with a crushing innings and 157-run victory over Australia in the fourth Test in Melbourne.

That gave the tourists an unbeatable 2-1 lead heading into the fifth and final Test of the five-match series in Sydney, starting on Monday.

But, despite that achievement, Warne believes Strauss needs to improve his captaincy skills.

"In Strauss they have a captain who is a leader of men and a wonderful spokesperson for the team," leg-spin legend Warne wrote in his column in Britain's Sunday Telegraph newspaper.

"He is a good citizen but I still think he misses a lot tactically and he has to get better for the team to reach No 1."

And even though England won on the fourth day in Melbourne, Warne added: "England also need to be more ruthless because they could have beaten Australia in Melbourne quicker if they had put their foot down and scored fast runs on the third morning when Matt Prior and Jonathan Trott were batting.

"They need to boss the opposition more... Remember, the best teams up the ante when they are on top."

Meanwhile, Warne urged English officials to seize the opportunity created by England's Ashes success to cut the number of county teams from 18 to 10, insisting "English cricket must not rest on its laurels".

He also said it was vital England players featured in county cricket - something that, because of central contracts and a packed global programme has become increasingly rare in recent seasons - adding the lack of inter-action between international and state players had harmed Australia's cause.

"This is a good time for English cricket," said Warne. "They have been successful in Australia and have ambitions to be the world's best team.

"It is a realistic aim because they have improved a lot over the last 12 months thanks to the management of (coach) Andy Flower.

"When you are winning, it is the ideal time to take tough decisions and build on what has gone before.

"For England, that means having a fresh look at county cricket. It is time to cut county cricket from its traditional base of 18 teams back to 10," added Warne, a former captain of county side Hampshire.

"Ten teams competing in one division and playing each other in all forms of the game is an easy-to-understand model that would produce good cricketers.

"But it works both ways. The England management in return have to support county cricket.

"One of the reasons Australia have fallen away is because international players have not played enough domestic cricket.

"They (England players) need to play county cricket so the youngsters coming through and people on the fringe get to play against guys like Chris Tremlett and James Anderson, and learn how to how to bowl to the likes of Strauss, Alastair Cook, Ian Bell and Kevin Pietersen.

"It sends a message that we care about the bigger picture. Our counties supported us, now we are going to support them and help them take English cricket to the top of the world."

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