No rest for England as walking wounded hurry to prove their World Cup fitness

One week ago, England were flying home from Perth after a three-month tour of Australia. Tomorrow, they take on Canada in a World Cup warm-up match at the Bangladeshi venue of Fatullah. Not much chance, then, of letting the grass grow beneath their feet, never mind having a breather.

Indeed, Andrew Strauss knows his team must hit the ground running when it comes to a competition England have never won – despite nine previous attempts stretching back nearly 36 years – nor looked even remotely capable of winning since 1992.

Their first "proper" game of this World Cup will be played a week today, in the Indian city of Nagpur, against the Netherlands. But while that contest should not be too testing (in theory, at least), there is much to be said for Strauss's men finding some decent form as soon as possible.

For a start, there is the small matter of a 6-1 thrashing in Australia to put behind them. It is all very well saying England are a lot better than they looked during the recent one-day series but it would be nice see some evidence in support of that statement before too long.

Secondly, a clutch of recently injured players need to convince everyone, as soon as possible, they are back to full fitness and then shake off any rust. For Tim Bresnan (calf), Ajmal Shahzad (hamstring) and Graeme Swann (back), that opportunity will not come until Friday's second warm-up game, against Pakistan, at the earliest, but Paul Collingwood (back) may be able to play at least some part in tomorrow's fixture.

And thirdly, England need to settle on a strategy to use on what will be slow and most probably turning pitches in Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka – the countries co-hosting the World Cup. Then they need to work on strategy.

If Australia's pre-tournament game with India a couple of days ago is anything to go by, spinners will play a crucial role over the next six weeks. The holders were set a modest target and were cruising towards it until India's battery of twirlymen tied them in knots. That match, England will have noted, was played at Bangalore – venue for their group games against India and Ireland.

Swann, given permission to delay his departure until after his wife had given birth, will be vital to England's chances in this competition. But the same is likely to be true of Michael Yardy and quite possibly James Tredwell, the other main spinners in the squad, and both will hope for a decent bowl tomorrow.

Canada have already played a game, failing to trouble Bangladesh last Saturday after being bowled out for 112. They should not bother anyone too much in this tournament but England need to be clinical, even in a friendly. That was not the case when the two countries last met, England labouring to a 51-run victory during the 2007 World Cup. But then World Cups do have a nasty habit of bringing the worst out of the English.

peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
New Articles
i100... with this review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
footballTim Sherwood: This might be th match to wake up Manchester City
Arts and Entertainment
musicHow female vocalists are now writing their own hits
New Articles
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
Blahnik says: 'I think I understand the English more than they do themselves'
Arts and Entertainment
Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawley in Downton Abbey
TVInside Downton Abbey series 5
Life and Style
The term 'normcore' was given the oxygen of publicity by New York magazine during the autumn/winter shows in Paris in February
fashionWhen is a trend a non-trend? When it's Normcore, since you ask
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam