Strauss wants tour schedules changed

Perth, Feb 5 (AFP) England cricket captain Andrew Strausshas called for one-day internationals to be played before Testmatches on future tours.

Speaking on the eve of his weary team''s final match of amarathon Ashes tour that has lasted over three months, Strausssaid the seven-game one-day series had taken a heavy toll onhis side, which has to regroup for the World Cup later thismonth.

The English trail 5-1 in the ODI series, with the finalmatch to be played at the WACA Ground in Perth tomorrow.

They go into the game with six players, including fivemembers of their 15-man World Cup squad, unavailable due toinjury.

Strauss, who also believes the seven-match ODI series istoo long, said he believed using one-dayers as preparation forTest cricket was better for both players and fans.

"Wherever possible I think that''s a better way of doingit," he said. "I''ve been involved in a lot of tours where theone-dayers at the end have been hard work.

"Not just for us but the other teams as well. In someways it''s quite a good way to whet the appetite for thefive-day matches coming up.

"That''s something the administrators can look at and Ithink it makes for better cricket personally."

Paul Collingwood (back), spinner Graeme Swann (back) andseamers Tim Bresnan (calf) and Ajmal Shahzad (hamstring) areall selected for the World Cup but already back in England,while Stuart Broad is with the squad but not ready to playafter suffering a stomach strain during the Ashes.

Despite their injury woes and fatigue, Strauss believeshis side can still use the final ODI to build momentum for thetournament.

"They (the injuries) are a bit of a setback, but it lookslike the guys are going to be fit for the World Cup so in someways it might be a bit of a blessing in disguise because theywill be reasonably fresh," he said.

"I''m very optimistic about the World Cup even though it''sobviously disappointing that we haven''t done as well in thisseries as we would have liked.

"We are obviously very determined to win this last gameto try to finish the tour on a high and then head (home) for afew days off before the World Cup, to go there feeling goodabout our prospects." (AFP) SNK

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