It was the worst kept secret in sport. Almost from the moment the ECB announced on Tuesday evening the scheduling of today’s press conference, rumours abound of the reasons behind it. In these communicative prolifigate days of social media it does not take much smoke to create a wildfire and, with many respected cricket commentators adding fuel to the fire, it was generally expected that Andrew Strauss would be resigning the captaincy and hanging up his batting gloves come 12 noon. In a presser full of emotion and respect, so it came to pass.
So what of the test career? A century on his debut at Lords, winning back and the retaining the Ashes as captain, taking England to number one in the world and going full circle by appearing in his 100th (and final) test back at Lords, this seemed almost a perfect time for Strauss to end an undoubtadly fantastic career and take a rest from the second most important job in British Sport.
His respectful demeanor, gritty determination and undoubted standing within any dressing room he entered made Strauss a natural leader, the most quintessentially English member of ‘Team England’s’ South African imports. Someone who history will reflect kindly on due to the achievements listed above, however, a captain is only ever as good as his bowling attack and Strauss was blessed with some great ones. He certainly was a cautious captain and some may argue England would have done even better had Strauss been more ruthless. The fact remains England became number 1 under his stewardship and we hope The Chef can take this mantle and finish what Strauss started.
Whether he chooses to do this with one of the top 6 batsmen in the world is another point for another debate. I have no doubt the ‘KP incident’ had nothing to do with this decision but nevertheless, I just hope England use this chance to get Kevin Pietersen, faubles and all, back into the fold. Now that would be genius.
Three asides from all of this; it is the third home series with South Africa in a row which has seen England’s captain resign – the curse of Graeme Smith. Allastair Cook will be hoping we can stop the Saffers touring again for at least 5 years!
Secondly when you split captaincies between test and ODI teams it is not sustainable. Players have two different captaincy styles to reference and some will prefer one to the other, this has led to resignations in the past and I would not do it again.
Finally during Straussy’s first class career he took a grand total of three wickets. The first of these? A young South African plying his trade at Notts called Kevin……