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Page last updated at 10:22 GMT, Sunday, 20 February 2011

Cricket World Cup: Andrew Strauss wants shorter event

ICC Cricket World Cup 2011
Dates: 19 February-2 April Venues: India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh
Coverage: Highlights on BBC TV (see listings), Red Button & BBC Sport website at 2200 GMT every day (UK users only); Live Test Match Special commentary (BBC 5 live sports extra, online, some games also on BBC Radio 4 LW) and live text commentary on England matches and selected others; Live on Sky Sports

Andrew Strauss
England were beaten 6-1 in the recent 50-over series against Australia.

Andrew Strauss has entered the debate over the World Cup's length, arguing that the tournament should be shorter.

The 14-team event started on Saturday and finishes on 2 April and the England captain told BBC's Sportsweek: "Ideally it wouldn't be six weeks long."

The 2015 edition will be reduced to 10 teams, although Strauss admitted it was key for smaller nations to be given the chance to "showcase their skills".

"You don't want it to be just the top eight sides all the time," he said.

The International Cricket Council's plan to revamp the 50-over World Cup by cutting it down to 10 teams, while increasing the World Twenty20 to 16 teams instead of 12, has drawn criticism from Kenya, Ireland and Canada and the Netherlands.

Their concern is that such a change would have a negative impact on the development of cricket in their countries.

"We are disappointed," said Canada's Sri Lankan coach Pubudu Dassanayake . "The ICC helped us a lot in the last couple of years to come to the World Cup. Right now we are in a situation where we have lots of talent in the country."

There was huge criticism of the protracted 2007 World Cup in the Caribbean where group stages were followed by a round-robin Super Eight phase before the two semi-finals, and the tournament comprised 51 matches in total.

This time around there will be no Super Eight phase, and each team will be guaranteed at least six matches, which the organisers hope will mean less chance of one of the leading nations suffering a shock early elimination, as happened to India and Pakistan four years ago.

The 14 teams are divided into two groups of seven and after a round-robin section the top four from each group will go through to the quarter-finals.

England begin their World Cup campaign against the Netherlands on Tuesday and Strauss insisted that he was not fatigued after arriving on the Indian subcontinent after just a few days rest in England following their return from the Australia tour and Ashes success.

"I'm not too tired," said Strauss. "We get used to playing a lot. That's what we do, that's what we are employed to do and that's what we have done for the last seven or eight years and you get used to it.

"Arriving in the subcontinent and the fervour and enthusiasm about the World Cup has given us energy. We are rightly excited and looking forward to the challenges that we will face over the next few weeks."

Strauss is also excited by the decision to deploy Kevin Pietersen as an opening batsman alongside himself.

"In the subcontinent the first 15 overs are often the best time to bat," said Strauss.

"Kevin can be devastating without having to resorting to high-risk options and we thought it might be a little bit of spur to him to really take this World Cup by storm.

"It's a little bit of a calculated gamble, but potentially it could really work in our favour and put opposition teams under pressure.

"It's very important that you do that in a World Cup. Maybe we have learnt some lessons from the last World Cup when perhaps we were a little bit conservative - we are determined not to make that mistake again."

England coach Andy Flower echoed Strauss' view that Pietersen, who averages more than 40 in one-day internationals yet has managed only one half century in his last 23 innings in the middle order, might be reinvigorated by the switch.

"It's a serious challenge, because opening the batting in this form of the game in the subcontinent carries a lot of responsibility," said Flower.

"But he's without doubt good enough to take that responsibility on and thrive, and I'm looking forward to watching how he accepts that challenge."

England have been World Cup runners-up three times but struggled in 1996, 1999, 2003 and 2007.

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see also
Broad fires England past Pakistan
18 Feb 11 |  England
Teams set for start of World Cup
18 Feb 11 |  Cricket
Broad stars but England struggle
16 Feb 11 |  England
England tour ends in heavy defeat
06 Feb 11 |  England
Cricket World Cup 2011 squads
19 Jan 11 |  Cricket
Cricket World Cup 2011
09 Mar 11 |  Cricket

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