Former skipper Andrew Strauss believes England’s batsmen may be being held back in one-day internationals by a fear of failure.
The World Cup gets under way in February next year but England’s hopes of going all the way in Australia and New Zealand have been written off by many pundits.
One of the biggest gripes with the 50-over team is a perceived negative approach when it comes to batting, scoring too slowly compared with rival nations.
Indeed, Rohit Sharma’s world record 264 against Sri Lanka last week was a bigger score than seven of England’s past 10 ODI innings.
But Strauss believes it is the batsmen’s mentality, not the tactics, which need to be altered.
“I think the England players, even throughout my time, have played too fearfully,” Strauss said in an interview with BBC Sport.
“They’ve been far too fearful of getting out. And you can’t make 400 if you’ve got that kind of attitude.
“I would argue it’s not the strategy that is wrong; it’s that players haven’t actually played well enough. And it’s very hard to score 400 in ODIs if you’re not confident.”
England’s World Cup preparations get into full swing next week when they begin a seven-match series in Sri Lanka before a triangular series against Australia and India in the new year.
And Strauss believes Alastair Cook’s men need to hit the ground running if they are to carry any confidence into the World Cup.
“They’ve got to find a way of winning that series in Sri Lanka to get some confidence,” said the 37-year-old, who captained England at the last 50-over World Cup in 2011.
“The real danger of this is they’re playing against three very good one-day sides, and if they don’t get on a bit of a roll and start winning then confidence could be eroded rather than enhanced before the World Cup.”