Beijing 2008 Olympic Games

Anderson faces England axe

2011-03-16 13:52
Tank Lanning (Gallo Images)

Chennai - James Anderson cannot take his place for granted while Matt Prior may bat lower down the order in Thursday's must-win Cricket World Cup Group B match against West Indies, England skipper Andrew Strauss hinted on Wednesday.

Kevin Pietersen's exit with a hernia led to Prior's promotion to the top as Strauss' opening partner but the wicketkeeper-batsman might return to the middle order again where his ability to play spin better than some of his team mates would suit the team more.

"We said it before ... that he may not (open) in every game now. We have got to weigh up the conditions and the West Indies' attack and decide what's the best way of countering them in the first 10-15 overs," Strauss said.

"(In that case) two likely options are (Ian) Bell and (Ravi) Bopara. We have to decide the best batting order."

After his disappointing performance in the World Cup, Anderson's place also looked in jeopardy even though Strauss insisted the pace bowler was very much in the selection mix.

"You always try to pick the right side to win a game. Jimmy had a tough time in some of the games but we all know what a quality performer he is.

"He has done it for us over and over again so his name is very much in the mix for selection but as is always the case, we are not going to tell you which way we are going to go in the selection before a game."

Chris Tremlett would be the beneficiary if Anderson is ignored.

Strauss reckoned England could not possibly slip further after their inconsistent campaign has left them tottering on the brink of a premature exit.

"The juices are flowing, there are a few butterflies in the stomach and I think that's a great sign for us," Strauss told reporters at the MA Chidambaram Stadium, looking surprisingly relaxed for the captain of a team with an uncertain fate in the tournament.

"We played well in the big matches over the past couple of years. The equation is very simple. This is the time to go out and take on the West Indies.

"Mindset-wise that really helps you. So I'm genuinely excited about it. I think we can go out there and play some really good cricket tomorrow and hopefully book our passage to the next level."

Strauss said that in the West Indies, England had decent opposition but they were certainly not invincible.

"They have got quite a good balance in their side with three spin options. The key for me is that they have not been under real pressure other than the South Africa game and the challenge for us is to pile up pressure from ball one and see how they respond."

Asked if England were wary of West Indian big-hitters Chris Gayle and Kieron Pollard, Strauss said: "It's not a time to be concerned or scared of anyone. Now is the time to back our skill and if we can do that, we should be good enough."

On what had gone wrong so far, Strauss said: "We lost two games (against Ireland and Bangladesh) we should not have lost to put ourselves in this situation. That's disappointing and we are not going to hide away from that.

"We played some good cricket and played some poor cricket. The equation now is very clear for us, we have to win this game. We should go out there and play good, attacking cricket."

Strauss was not ready to blame it on the team's fatigue factor.

"We have been on the road for a long time but fatigue is the last thing on our mind at the moment. Potentially we have four more games to play before a nice, long break.

"We know what the prize there is and we are determined to make the most of our opportunity to take that prize. It's (fatigue) a non-issue for us at the moment."

Read more on:    cwc

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