ANDREW Strauss has warned England they must be on top of their game to ensure they suffer no further embarrassment at the hands of Holland in the World Cup.
It is less than two years since England lost to today’s opponents in the opening match of the World Twenty20 at Lord’s - on the way to a poor home campaign in that tournament.
They have since beaten the world in the shortest format, winning England’s maiden International Cricket Council global trophy under the captaincy of Paul Collingwood in the West Indies last May.
There were no Dutchmen in the Caribbean then.
But they are back now, and Strauss is well aware of the threat they pose - despite fielding a team with just a handful of full-time professionals and a majority able to concentrate on cricket only sporadically, at major tournaments and when their careers allow. “They are going to be a stern test for us,” the England captain predicted.
“They have nothing to lose and they will come out and play with a lot of freedom.
“If we are 10 per cent off and they have a good day, we are in trouble - so we need to be right on our game.”
He continued: “The World Cup only happens every four years. If you are lucky, you might play in two or three in your career.
“You don’t want to have any regrets at the end of it.”
In the Holland side will be captain Peter Borren, in the ranks two years ago, who will be fit to bat and field but not to bowl his medium pace as he continues his recovery from a stomach injury.
Also in attendance is former Sussex batsman Bas Zuiderent, whose experience of facing England goes back much further - to 15 years ago, almost to the day, when as a teenager he hit them for a half-century in this same competition in Peshawar.
Approaching his fourth World Cup, Zuiderent is confident a team with the talent of Essex all-rounder Ryan ten Doeschate and Worcestershire’s 21-year-old batsman Alexei Kervezee at their disposal - among others - have more potential than ever to worry the Test-playing nations.
Australia romped to a 91-run win over Zimbabwe in their opening Group A clash.