Strauss challenges England to hit ground running

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The Independent Online

The England captain Andrew Strauss told his team yesterday to consign the fourth Test fiasco and the umpire Darrell Hair's resignation affair to history.

Strauss, who leads England into the Twenty20 international against Pakistan at Bristol today, said last night: "It wasn't a great week for cricket. It's probably an opportunity, and responsibility of ours, to get cricket back in the news for the right reasons.

"From our point of view we have been trying to prepare ourselves as well as possible for the one-day series. Most things that have gone on this week have been out of our control and it is not something we really want to get involved with. We need to hit the ground running this week."

Strauss added: "We have more than enough motivation to perform and give the series a really good go. We need to make improvements from our 5-0 series defeat to Sri Lanka before a very busy winter of international cricket."

England may hand a first international cap to Leicestershire's Stuart Broad, while at the other end of the career spectrum Darren Gough, 36 next month, may return from a year's exile.

Whether there will be a place for Michael Yardy at some point, either in this one-off Twenty20 game or the five-match one-day international series which follows, is another matter. But the Sussex player could not be more fired up following his team's Cheltenham & Gloucester Trophy win at Lord's on Saturday.

"It's been a brilliant week for me and long may it continue," said Yardy, who had an unhappy tour with England A in the West Indies the winter before last. "I like to think my game's expanded. I was hoping to get my name in the England frame for the start of next summer. That was my goal."

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