Strauss cool on Ashes chances

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The Independent Online

England captain Andrew Strauss was keeping his feet firmly on the ground after his team ruthlessly completed a series win over West Indies.

England won back the Wisden Trophy with ease but the task of regaining the Ashes this year from Ricky Ponting's Australians will be a lot tougher.

"We are not getting carried away, we still need to work hard but we are going in the right direction," Strauss told a news conference.

"It is nice to remember what it is like to win but when we start the Ashes it will be back to square one."

Strauss said he was trying not to think about the Ashes too much, with England facing a one-day series against West Indies and the World Twenty20 before the first test against Australia in July.

"The Ashes are going to be a very stern test for us but there's a lot of cricket to play first," he said. "When you think about the Ashes it certainly gets the heart beating faster and the juices flowing."

Strauss said he was delighted with the way young players such as Ravi Bopara, Graham Onions and Tim Bresnan contributed to the victory over West Indies. "I've always felt we've got a lot of talent in English cricket," he said. "All the players are committed to playing for England, there are no hang-ups in our dressing-room and everyone is going in the right direction. We have a great hunger to improve."

England's seam attack bowled outstandingly in helpful conditions against West Indies with James Anderson and Stuart Broad forming a potent opening attack, backed up by Onions and Bresnan.

"Hopefully, I can keep my form going because my control is improving with each game I play," said the 26-year-old Anderson who completed match figures of nine for 125 in the second test.

"I'm the most experienced seam bowler in the team but Stu Broad has got a 30-year-old's head on his shoulders and we've got a good unit."

West Indies captain Chris Gayle was impressed by the way England bounced back from their series defeat in the Caribbean this year.

"England are a quality team with quality players," he said. "On their day they can beat any team."