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Strauss in the dark

Andrew Strauss, England's mild-mannered captain, will hold a team meeting this week in an attempt to try to solve his side's miserable form, particularly in the one-day arena.

Andrew Strauss, England's mild-mannered captain, will hold a team meeting this week in an attempt to try to solve his side's miserable form, particularly in the one-day arena. The crushing six-wicket defeat in the Twenty20 match at the Queen's Park Oval on Sunday has left England still searching for their first international victory of the winter.

And the portents for a turnaround in the one-day series against the West Indies, which starts in Georgetown on Friday, look gloomy as England have not won a one-day game since they beat South Africa - who took their foot off the pedal after winning the proceeding Test series - at The Oval in August. "The reality is that success breeds success and we need to start winning, and when we start winning then the confidence will come with it," said Strauss whose day was summed up when his shirt for yesterday's match was lost in transit and he had to wear Matt Prior's instead.

"I think the most important thing is that we are desperate enough to win that game. If we are desperate enough then we're going to put everything we've got on the line and if we do that we've got a decent chance of competing in this one-day series and hopefully winning it." England have already resigned themselves to being without Andrew Flintoff for Friday's opener as he battles to regain fitness following his hip problems, but the totemic Lancastrian played the entire one-day series in India, which the hosts won 5-0.

But Strauss is demanding a big improvement from the available players. "We've got to be very clear about our thinking," he said. "We need to have a couple of decent chats this week on how we're looking to play in different conditions and also how we're thinking and communicating out in the middle. "It's one of those situations where you need to be calm, you need to take pressure off the players and allow them to go out there and play with freedom.

"That's the only way you can beat other international teams - you can't beat international teams that are confident if you're not prepared to play with confidence and freedom yourself." * With agencies

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