England captain Andrew Strauss retires

Andrew Strauss has announced his retirement from all forms of cricket with immediate effect. The England Test Captain, 35, made the decision to step down as a result of a continuing poor run with the bat. A media-savvy, solid leader who inspired England to new heights, Strauss’s sudden departure allows Alastair Cook, currently one-day skipper, sufficient time to prepare the test team for England’s tour of India this autumn.

Andres Strauss’s last media conference as England captain was typically understated, rising from his seat to warm and appreciative applause from members of the media who will no doubt miss one of the best ambassadors for the sport. As a BBC journalist remarked about the applause on the 6 o’clock news; “That doesn’t happen very often”.

Since taking over the role in 2009, Strauss has led the England team to the top spot in the Test rankings, a feat never before achieved. Through his good working relationship with Andy Flower, the England team flourished in the wake of Kevin Pieterson’s disasterous reign as Captain which lasted only months in 2008. This new start saw the Ashes being regained in 2009, and retained in 2011.  Second only to Michael Vaughn in terms of a successful captaincy, Strauss oversaw 24 wins out of 50 matches, adding historic wins over Australia down under to his impressive record.

A successful team relies on a captain leading by example.  A solid batsman and fielder who holds the record for the most outfield catches in an England shirt, Strauss was eminently placed to lead the national side. Like any other player, his batting encountered peaks and troughs; sometimes bringing out tons when most needed, other times falling by the wayside with single figure innings, an unfortunate malaise among the England top-order in recent years. However,  at 35 Andrew Strauss has had his fill of international cricket, having led both the test and one-day teams in his career. A traditionally strong batsman, his recent failings at the top of the order limited his value to the team.

A well spoken, determined and respected cricketer, Andrew Strauss has proved to the world of sport that hard work, a solid personality and a committed, genuine passion for the game can inspires a team to reach the top of the world rankings. Alastair Cook remarked that he had ‘some big shoes to fill’ by stepping into the vacant position. Unlike previous captains Andrew Flintoff or Kevin Pieterson, Cook looks and sounds like a good bet to succeed Strauss. With his relevant experience, and undoubted subtle mentoring under the redoubtable Strauss, Cook has had no better guidance with which to take England forward into a new era.

Andrew Strauss by PaddyBriggs via Wikimedia Commons