England director Andrew Strauss knows significance of impressing at World Cup

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Andrew Strauss knows he must prioritise a successful World Cup strategy as he seeks to maximise English cricket's potential.

Strauss, six eventful months in as the England and Wales Cricket Board's director, is determined there will be no repeat on his watch of past mistakes.

The former England captain insists Test cricket will remain a driving force, but not at the expense of a limited-overs team able to beat the best - specifically at the next World Cup, on home soil, in 2019.

The alternative, an early exit, is an unthinkable consequence of poor decisions - and, after that fate befell England's rugby union hosts just last month, Strauss hardly has to look far to see its impact.

English cricket has its own example of exactly how not to do it too.

Strauss was in his first year as a professional when England were knocked out of their own World Cup in 1999, unforgettably before their tournament jingle had been released.

A management overhaul established the Duncan Fletcher era, in which Strauss would begin to make his name as a three-time Ashes-winner.

His hope for the next four years, which also includes a home Champions Trophy in 2017, is that no such restructure is necessary - and after England's apologetic Rugby Union World Cup campaign, he is happy to spell out the bottom line.

"Don't go out in the group stages," he said.

"It's hard to comment on what's going on in other sports - but what you saw is that a home World Cup is a massive opportunity to showcase the game...and they don't come along very often."

Strauss has already appointed a new England coach, Trevor Bayliss, and seen the Australian help deliver instant Ashes success - an early antidote to 16 months of previous turmoil since 2013/14 whitewash defeat Down Under.

He wants more of the same in the 'pinnacle format'.

But as England seek a first World Cup trophy, at the 12th attempt after 40 years of failure so far, Strauss will champion above all a separation of expertise between Test and the shorter formats.

To fine-tune white-ball skills, specialists will be encouraged, and opportunities to play in franchise Twenty20 leagues such as the Indian Premier League and Big Bash will be high on the agenda too.

Strauss added: "There's more pressure on you to perform in those (world) tournaments, and you need to be very confident.

"We all know our history of World Cups, and we don't want to repeat those mistakes.

"Fundamentally we need to get better - and we won't get better by treating one-day cricket as the poor relation.

"We always make our sacrifices in one-day cricket rather than Test cricket - but what we need to do is have far more balance."

A pathway to IPL, for the right people, may well be part of that.

"The great thing about going to those tournaments is that you go as an overseas player, so you're under pressure to perform and win games," he said.

"You can't walk along on somebody else's shirt-tails - you have to be the person to deliver.

"If you take that forward to a Champions Trophy or World Cup, that's exactly what we want our players to do - day in and day out in real pressure situations.

"We need to be comfortable with that, not freeze - and be able to deliver in a cool, calm, calculated way."

Who is excused domestic, or even international, duty will be a "case-by-case" issue.

"If someone is a white-ball specialist and his focus in the short term is on white-ball cricket, then it seems like an easy decision to make.

"If someone is playing in the Test team or very close to the Test team, then that's a harder decision to make.

"But we're not going to make massive strides in white-ball cricket without making some hard decisions.

"I think we have to be prepared to do that."

Strauss cites last winter's World Cup, in which England were again also-rans.

"(I think) 37 or 38 of the 44 players involved in the semi-finals of the World Cup had IPL experience.

"That's obviously a great development opportunity, and we should seek further opportunities to get our guys in there."

There is still room for others to join the journey to 2019, but almost certainly not controversial outcast Kevin Pietersen.

The record-breaking batsman has just hit back-to-back hundreds in South Africa's Twenty20 competition, but England have long since moved on.

Mentioning no names, Strauss said: "It would be wrong to be searching in very different directions right now.

"Of course, that doesn't mean it is a closed shop long term - you're always looking for people who are going to add to the team."


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