Ashes 2015: 'It's not about life and death, it's a game of cricket,' says former England captain Andrew Strauss

Strauss will come out of retirement to lead a side in a fund-raising Twenty20 match at The Oval in September

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The Independent Online

In case anyone was mistaking the Ashes for something that it is not, given recent declarations of intent, Andrew Strauss has lent it proper perspective. Strauss, England’s director of cricket, said: “In the context of what we’re talking about here, it makes you realise it’s not about life and death, it’s a game of cricket.

“It’s a number of games of cricket between two very passionate sides who want to win desperately. But I don’t think we need to build it into something it’s not.”

Strauss took the opportunity to make this pertinent point as he helped to launch the publicity drive for another cricket match, at The Oval in September between a Help for Heroes XI and a Rest of the World team. Strauss, who will emerge from retirement to lead the charity side in the fund-raising Twenty20 game, is keen to ensure that England’s series against Australia does not descend into ugliness.

“Ultimately, our team are going to be very focused to go out there and beat Australia, as every team that’s represented England have been,” he said. “I think that kind of war rhetoric when it comes to the Ashes is unhelpful.”

Strauss, who wears an HforH wristband, said the New Zealand series helped the England players to recognise their priorities. He offered the prospect of a new England.

“It made us all appreciate and understand the importance of engaging with the public,” he said. “We are in the entertainment business and people have a choice whether they turn on cricket on television or go and watch a cricket match or do something different. We’ve got an obligation to make the product one that people want to watch.

“You do it by playing aggressive cricket, by being forthcoming with the media, by trying to advertise the game and all the good things about the game rather than the bad.”