Strauss’s Ashes heroes are back and ready to click into top gear

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HAD the World Cup programme started a month ago then maybe England’s chances of success would have been given more credence.

Fresh from victory in the Ashes, our cricketing heroes were on top of the world. Nothing, it seemed could get in the way of total cricketing domination.

Seven one day internationals against Australia later, and there is a more sober look to Andrew Strauss’s chances of lifting the World Cup high on April 2.

The scoreline of 6-1 against England has done much to dampen the expectancy levels.

Scenes of Test glory Down Under are but a distant memory, thoughts of winning cricket’s major one day tournament all-but consigned to fantasy.

But hang on a minute, maybe things are not quite as bad as they seem.

Many of the Ashes heroes were injured and missing from that ill-timed seven-match ODI series and left England with a seriously depleted squad.

Fringe players were given their opportunity to shine or gain valuable experience while potential stars such as Graeme Swann, Tim Bresnan and James Anderson were given time to rest.

Key all-rounder Stuart Broad is also back in top form after injury cut short his Ashes, while specialist talents such as Yorkshire’s Ajmal Shahzad, Luke Wright, Michael Yardy and James Tredwell have all been drafted in.

You can bet that the side which lines up to take on Holland in their opening World Cup game on Tuesday is vastly different to the one which finished so limply against the Aussies earlier this month.

It must be remembered that English cricket is enjoying its best time on the field of play for a generation.

An Ashes win in Australia, the current T20 world champions and a squad full of talent which only has to click into gear at the right time to make them serious contenders for the World Cup.

Yes, of course England can win it. We have the players, the coaches and the skill to take on anyone in the world...

It just depends on whether Strauss and his men can rediscover their Ashes mojo.