Chennai: England captain Andrew Strauss on Saturday said that his side have moved on from the disappointing loss against Ireland and were focussing on their Sunday’s crucial match against South Africa to remain in contention for a quarterfinal berth in the World Cup.
England suffered a humiliating three-wicket defeat to Ireland in their last match but Strauss said his side were not unduly perturbed by it as the World Cup format presented teams opportunities to bounce back into the tournament.
"The format of this World Cup is such that you have to put your defeats down very quickly and move on and look forward to the next game. Clearly, those are the lessons that we learnt from the Ireland game. The focus after that is now on South Africa and how we are going to win this game. After a poor performance, you have got to bounce back," Strauss said ahead of Sunday`s match.
"We are very excited about this game and I suppose this is a more familiar territory. We have had our successes before in South Africa. We intend to come and play good cricket here tomorrow. Hopefully, South Africa will take us lightly after our Ireland match. If they do that, I can look forward to a chance to win the game," he said.
He said self-belief is important in such a big tournament and his side has not lost it yet despite the upset by Ireland.
"Things can change very quickly in cricket and the most important thing is to retain belief in yourself. If you do that there is no reason we cannot beat South Africa. We have done that many times before. If we win three games, we are definitely into the quarterfinals," said the England captain.
Strauss admitted that his side`s bowling and fielding have been poor in the tournament but said they were working hard to improve on these aspects.
"Some of our bowlers were coming from injury lay-offs. No one was happy with the form they have shown. There are still opportunities to win the World Cup and also still opportunities to improve and react successfully under the conditions. We have not done that so far.”
"If your bowling is not good, it is no good for cricket. It is a simple thing. Generally this is also going to be a high scoring game. In any high scoring game, if you get a slight edge on field, it is going to keep you in good stead," he said.
On experienced bowlers like Stuart Broad going for runs, the England captain said, "It is no doubt that we are disappointed about the performance of bowlers. They had a chat about it. Talked about how we can make things better in this game. We need to do what we think right. Obviously, it`s the degree of how to react to the match situation. I think starting off with right plans is more important."
South African batsmen have done well in their last two matches, but Strauss said his side would concentrate on their plans and not on their opponents` strong points.
"We will bowl to our plans against them. We know how they bat and we are not going to have any surprise packages. We need to bowl to our potential for decent result. We are not entirely sure who is going to play. We are not sure how much spin is going to come in. Definitely it is going to come for some of the bowlers at some point of time, so that will be encouraging if it happens," he said.
On his impressions about the abilities of Pakistan-born South African leg-spinner Imran Tahir, Strauss said, "When he first came to county cricket, he started with Middlesex and I had played with him for a few games. We know what he brings to the party quite clearly. But as leg spinners always do, he brings variety. You should always pick them. Some of our players have played against him before. Probably we will have less problems when we face him unlike the other teams."
Asked about the weak points of the South Africans, Strauss said, "With the side`s top order doing very well, middle order doesn`t get much time on the wicket. But definitely, you can get them early and put them under some pressure. May be they have not got the pace of the wicket.
That is an opportunity for us. We need to take early wickets. We will try and do that."
Strauss was not duly concerned about security issues after the West Indies team bus was stoned by Bangladesh fans in Dhaka.
"Asking me where I was not there. I don`t know the situation there. Really security is important out there. As far as we are concerned we have no issues. It is better for those who are involved to comment on that," he said.
Asked whether there was any injury concern in his side apart from Paul Collingwood, he said, "To be fair there are few niggles in the side. At the moment, we are certainly hopeful that we pick 12 from the 15 for tomorrow`s match. Like I have always been saying you got to see how many niggles react. You go to pick the right team according to the conditions here. Take form into account. There is definitely a case of changes to pick from the 15."
As for the dew factor at Chepauk in day games, he said, "I think the conditions are similar for both the teams. Some moisture takes place in the morning. It is a very dry wicket.
Generally the side that played the better cricket wins the game. That`s what you want from a one-day wicket."