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Strauss prepares for "stern test" Published: 21 February 2011

Andrew Strauss has warned England to be wary of a repeat of their shock defeat to the Netherlands when the two sides meet in their opening ICC World Cup fixture.

England famously lost their opening 2009 ICC World Twenty20 match to the Dutch at Lord’s.

Since then England have lifted the World T20 trophy, as well as winning two consecutive Ashes series as a vastly improved side - with Strauss leading the Test and 50-overs teams.

The 33-year-old urged his side to concentrate on the task at hand against the Dutch though, who are competing in their first major ICC event since their famous win.

Strauss said: "If we are ten per cent off and they have a good day, we are in trouble - so we need to be right on our game.

"They are going to be a stern test for us. They have nothing to lose and they will come out and play with a lot of freedom."

Swann returns

The England captain will be buoyed by the return of Graeme Swann - who arrived late in the sub-continent after witnessing the birth of his first child - to the squad.

Strauss admitted a decision was yet to be made on whether or not Swann would play in the opening game.

However he was delighted to confirm that Swann’s presence means England have a fully fit squad of 15 players available for selection.

"Graeme Swann has arrived so that completes a full squad that is fit and healthy and ready to go." added the Middlesex left-hander.

"We are excited about what's to come. Once the tournament is underway there is a buzz about things - and we want to get off to a good start."

Pietersen’s challenge

England have risked a late change in strategy for the tournament, with Kevin Pietersen moving to the top of the order in place of Matt Prior for the two warm-up fixtures.

Pietersen top scored with 65 in a convincing 69-run warm-up win over Pakistan while Prior has spoken of his desire to excel as England’s finisher in the absence of Eoin Morgan.

Opening batsman Strauss said he was excited by the prospect of partnering Pietersen in the tournament.

He said: "The indications are pretty good.

"We always felt Kevin Pietersen can prosper at the top on the sub-continent's flat, low-bounce wickets. That is perfect for his game.

"We have contrasting styles and that will make it hard for the bowlers to adjust. I'm very excited batting alongside Kevin and I think he can flourish."


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