Wednesday, February 4, 2009


Boosted by the return to fitness of all-rounder Andrew Flintoff, England captain Andrew Strauss has called on his bowlers to lift their game for the four-Test series against the West Indies."We need to bowl better, that is the reality," Strauss said on the eve of the first Test which starts in Sabina Park on Wednesday. "All our bowlers are proven match-winning bowlers but they need to do it more consistently." England have dismissed their opponents twice in only three of their past nine Tests but always look more threatening with Flintoff on form."He has come through practice very well and we are confident he will be playing," said the England skipper who suggested the Lancashire all-rounder would be used more as a strike than a stock bowler."Fred (Flintoff) is so important for us because he allows us the luxury of playing a five-man bowling attack. Out of all the bowlers in the world he is up there among the bowlers who batsmen don't like facing. It is a shame to use him too much as a stock bowler."He is better than that and if we can take pressure off him in terms of length of spells he bowls, it might help with his injury situation and we might get more wickets out of him," said Strauss who starts his reign as captain on Wednesday.West Indies skipper Chris Gayle has suffered a setback though with Barbados opening batsman Dale Richards, poised for his Test debut at the age of 32, highly doubtful due to a swollen foot."I'm more pessimistic than optimistic about his chances at the moment," said West Indies coach John Dyson.

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