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England captain Andrew Strauss confident of Ashes win

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Strauss embraces 'huge challenge' of Ashes

England captain Andrew Strauss is confident his side can retain the Ashes and win a Test series in Australia for the first time since 1986-87.

Speaking ahead of the team's departure for Australia on Friday Strauss told BBC Sport: "We feel very well prepared.

"It's going to be a hard challenge but there is a relaxed determination in making sure we come back with the urn."

Of injuries ahead of the first Test in Brisbane on 25 November he added: "We fully expect our squad to be 100% fit."

There had been criticism of England's so-called "boot camp" in Germany which contained some bouts of boxing between the players and resulted in reported rib injuries to bowlers James Anderson and Chris Tremlett.

Regarding Tremlett the captain said: "He had a very minor niggle but it hasn't affected his preparations, he's done all his gym work and bowling work.

"I want to stress we got some really good results from that trip," said Strauss, who added that he hoped Anderson would be fit "well before" the Brisbane Test.

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"We've prepared as well as we can do in the time we've had available to us, we've been thinking about this Ashes series for a long time now.

"It's a huge challenge going to Australia and winning but we've left no stone unturned in making sure we hit the ground running out there.

"Ultimately preparation only takes you so far and you've got to front up when it matters and win the crucial sessions but I've got every confidence our players are going to be able to do that.

"We've got an excellent chance of winning out there; we're a good, nice tight unit, we pretty much know what to expect I think and can't wait to get out there now."

Asked to single out the most dangerous Australia player Strauss added: "The great player in their ranks is Ricky Ponting and he is the one guy that it's important we get on top of early in the series.

"As captain he has a responsibility to lead the side and his record in Ashes series is very good.

"But neither side is going to be significantly different from the last time we played so we'll know each other pretty well.

"It's going to boil down to crucial periods of play and who wins them."

Following their 2-0 Test series defeat in India, Australia dropped to fifth in the Test rankings, their lowest position since ratings were introduced in 2003.

However Strauss said: "It's pretty irrelevant what the rankings say. They are a very strong side at home and we expect them to be a very tough side to get on top of."

Strauss is one of seven players in the squad who were part of the 5-0 whitewash on the last Ashes tour in 2006-07 at the hands of Ponting's Australians, who were then the undisputed world number one side

"Those of us who were on that tour last time realise what a tough place it is to tour," he said.

"But we also realise what an amazing thing it would be to go out there and win."

England play three warm-up matches before the first Test, starting against Western Australia in Perth on 5 November.


England Ashes Test squad:

Andrew Strauss (captain, Middlesex), Alastair Cook (vice-captain, Essex), James Anderson (Lancashire), Ian Bell (Warwickshire), Tim Bresnan (Yorkshire), Stuart Broad (Nottinghamshire), Paul Collingwood (Durham), Steven Davies (wk, Surrey), Steven Finn (Middlesex), Eoin Morgan (Middlesex), Monty Panesar (Sussex), Kevin Pietersen (Hampshire), Matt Prior (wk, Sussex), Graeme Swann (Nottinghamshire), Chris Tremlett (Surrey), Jonathan Trott (Warwickshire).



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see also
Thursday's Ashes gossip column
28 Oct 10 |  Cricket
Pietersen 'confident' for Ashes
27 Oct 10 |  Cricket
Anderson will make Ashes - Flower
25 Oct 10 |  England
Aussies lose series after washout
24 Oct 10 |  Cricket
Live cricket on the BBC
26 Oct 11 |  Cricket
England in Australia 2010-11
08 Oct 09 |  Cricket


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