Mark Butcher: It's not Strauss who should worry, but England's top order as a whole

'We play best when we're positive' is an excuse

When, like Alastair Cook did last weekend, his fellow left-handed opener Andrew Strauss scored a century on his Test debut - on his home ground at Lord's in 2004 - it must have seemed like Lou Reed's "Perfect Day".

But he hasn't scored a fifty in his last eight innings and now it's becoming more like Daniel Powter's "Bad Day". He shouldn't worry. As the lyrics go: "You had a bad day/The camera don't lie/You're coming back down and you really don't mind."

I am sure he is remaining upbeat. It's important not to get a downer on yourself. It doesn't go through the back of your mind that you are due a bad run, but you know it's inevitable at some stage.

There are always going to be dips in form. Strauss is probably feeling he isn't doing too much different, but he is not getting the breaks he once did. The key is, when you are in form, you should cash in and score heavily.

He is a level-headed guy and he never got massively big-headed when he was scoring for fun. He knew that he had not got the game completely sussed.

It's more of a concern for the team. A major part of their success has come from the starts Strauss has made with Marcus Trescothick. Now the middle order are more exposed.

With Treser back home for the series, without knowing it Strauss might be spending more of his energy looking after Cook. It could be a small factor, but he knows he doesn't have to babysit Trescothick.

Yet his poor run began in Pakistan before Christmas, when Trescothick was with him. From the outside perception, the immediate conclusion might be that the birth of Strauss's first baby, which caused him to miss the final Test in Pakistan, may have affected his form. He didn't look his usual self.

I've always found that if your private life is disrupted, if your partner was unhappy or in need of attention for example, it's hard to put that aside for a five-day Test, especially on tour.

You feel helpless, as I'm sure Marcus did, and he felt it was important enough to go home and stay there. There's nothing you can do. All you're getting is distressed phone calls, and it is a case of "What do you want me to do about it? I'm 10,000 miles away and I've got a Test match tomorrow".

Since Strauss struggled on the previous tour of the subcontinent as well, it could be that as an opening batsman he can't get used to the slower, lower pitches out there. He's not one of the guys who likes to bludgeon the ball, he prefers it to come on to the bat.

In the first two Tests in India he has got himself out having a go at balls which have been very wide of his off stump. But that is one of his strong areas, and when he scores his hundreds, he cuts and drives the ball a lot, so you can't vilify him for playing shots at balls he normally smacks for four.

You can mess around the nets so long as you are not being destructive and doing yourself down. Strauss keeps getting in and making a start, so his technique seems to be in good shape. I think he just needs to get back in the zone.

He is not the only one. Many of the England batsmen are getting themselves out when they are well set. I'm hearing a lot from the camp about how "we play best when we're positive", and I'm starting to think that it's becoming an excuse. You've got to be able to play in various ways, and Paul Collingwood and Cook showed in the Napur Test that a patient approach pays dividends.

England need to drop their tempo. To score 300 and get out quickly is dangerous in India. The Indians don't mind what speed they play at. They could score 500 and then the wicket will turn to dust on you.

Mark Butcher was talking to Andrew Tong

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent