Strauss calls for ‘added value’

England captain Andrew Strauss has called for his team to “add value” ahead of the final One Day International on Sunday in order to prevent an unprecedented 7-0 series win for the tourists.

Speaking at yesterday’s post-match press conference, Strauss said: “I’ve arranged for some ‘face time’ with every player before Sunday, just to throw a few ideas around and drill down on exactly what each of them brings to the party in terms of attitude, aggression and character. Each player will be given a score on these attributes and it will be up to them to increase their stock by working to improve on those areas in every game. I’m positive that a 10% improvement is deliverable from every player going forward.”

The captain also went on to reveal some exciting new plans to help increase the team’s overall performance levels in future contests: “The approach we want to take into the one day games going forward is to attack as much as possible but at the same time retain a conservative mindset. We are aware of certain limitations insofar as the restrictions placed on us within the framework of One Day International cricket and we are looking to overcome those by adopting a ‘Positive Negative’ approach – an approach we hope will show that we are equipped for the paradigm shift that has taken place in the overall game within the last few years.

“Our coaching team have recently been facilitating with the players on ‘Ball Awareness’, which is a great tool for getting everyone into the right state of mind to stay ‘on the ball’. The ball is the centre of the game and everything that happens in the game involves it in some way. Our idea is for the whole team to be fully aware of the ball at all times, so they will always be ‘in the business’ within all aspects of the game. Dimitri Mascarenhas benefitted greatly in the last game after working on his ball awareness. He used to maintain good awareness in his batting and bowling ‘zones’, but the ball would often pass him by in his fielding zone. Now that he’s incorporated ball awareness into his fielding zone he has taken his game to the next level.”

When questioned on the string of recent poor performances by the squad, Strauss responded by saying that “poor levels” were to blame: “In each of those games we allowed our levels to drop, thus decreasing our overall intensity. To sustain intensity we have to maintain high levels and we plan to enhance our consistency in this area before Sunday. What also happened was that many of the players were de-focussing too early. De-focussing is a useful technique, especially when fielding, as it allows the player to broaden their periphery and to absorb the overall shape of the game. The problem is that de-focussing too early can be a costly error that erodes a player’s sphere of concentration and thus causes a decline in their performance. We’re hoping to maximise concentration and focus over the next couple of days in training in order to deliver a more targeted and magnified intensity as a more cohesive unit going forward.

“The team is in a transitional phase at present and is currently experiencing what we refer to as a period of ‘deferred success’. If you take a 360-degree view of the current situation you will see that we are moving towards being ‘in a good place’ and that, in the bigger picture, we are actually coping reasonably well with the shifting landscape of the modern game. Looking at our results in context they are actually not bad at all – especially given the current cricketing climate. We are currently in the middle of a period of consolidation which we are confident will place us in a strong overall position going forward.”

The final ODI takes place on Sunday at Chester-le-Street in Durham.

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