Perth: England’s cricket team arrived Down Under on Saturday for a five-match Ashes tour with its captain Andrew Strauss taking a cautious approach to the opposition.
Strauss said England would not target any members of the Australian team, including struggling captain Ricky Ponting, when the series begins with the first Test November 25 in Brisbane.
England holds the Ashes after a 2-1 series win in England last year.
“I don’t know what his (Ponting’s) state of mind is but one thing I do know is we’re not in the business of targeting opposition players,” Strauss said.
“My past experience is that if you say too much about opposition teams, it can come back and haunt you.”
“We expect Australia to be very strong. Their record here is very good. When you’re out here, you can’t afford any passengers in your side, so you need all 11 to be performing and standing up at the right time.”
Strauss’ comments were in contrast to the ones made several days earlier when the team left England.
“I’m not sure about not being able to say hello to them, but until the end of that fifth test there’s two sides at war with each other,” Strauss said in London.
“Both sides know that at the end of the series there’s going to be 11 guys feted as heroes and 11 guys who failed in their task. Until that final test is over there’s no point being too hunky-dory or friendly with the opposition. Our task is to go out there and try to beat them,” he added.
Australia has slipped one spot below England to fifth in the ICC Test rankings but England has not taken a series Down Under since 1986-87 and has won just three of its last 26 Ashes Tests in Australia - all when the outcome had already been decided.
Strauss said on arrival today that England was mentally and physical ready for the series.
“I said in London there’s a relaxed excitement about the group,” he said. “Now that we’ve touched down and are on Australian soil, everything’s a bit more at the forefront of our minds about what lies ahead of us, what massive opportunities there are and also how determined we are to come out here and play well.”