England’s test team captain Andrew Strauss retired from International Cricket
Andrew Strauss, one of England’s most successful captains after winning Ashes series at home and away, has announced he is retiring from professional cricket.
Strauss said he had taken the decision to retire primarily because of his own batting problems, and that he had been considering his future long before Kevin Pietersen rocked England’s boat this summer.
“I’d run my race,” the 35 – year – old told a press conference at Lord’s, having abandoned his initial attempt to leave his comments to a brief pre – prepared statement with typical grace and good humour.
“In truth I hadn’t batted well enough for a long period of time now. From a captaincy point of view it’s important you’re not a passenger, and people aren’t speculating on your future. I know from my own energy levels and motivation I wasn’t going to improve batting – wise.
“It’s not something that’s happened overnight. It’s been a gradual thing over the last 12 months, and certainly the last six weeks.”
Asked directly whether the Pietersen stand – off, which was prompted by text messages sent about him to members of the South Africa team, had been a factor in his decision, Strauss added : “No, not in any way. I’ve been thinking about it for a while. I first spoke to Andy [ Flower, the team director ] prior to the whole Kevin Pietersen incident rearing its head. It hasn’t been a consideration to me.
“I was pretty sure I was going to make the decision before the Kevin Pietersen situation arose. What happened I didn’t feel had undermined me in the eyes of the team in any way. It was obviously a difficult situation to deal with but not in terms of making me more or less keen to lead the side forward. You just know in your mind how you’re feeling about things.
“At the end of the South Africa series with losing the number one ranking it’s time for the side to refresh and think about how best to regain the number one ranking. For more than 12 months now I’ve looked at this series as a bit of a crossroads. If I’d have been playing really well and the team were doing really well, then I might have pushed through the next two Ashes series. But as it is I’ve not played well enough, and the team had some difficult times.”
Strauss said that he had yet to speak to the majority of the England players, having spent much of Tuesday writing to them individually, but Cook confirmed that the news of his decision had stunned the one – day team when it reached them after their defeat by South Africa in Southampton on Tuesday.
“It was a sad dressing room yesterday when we found out,” he said. “That speaks volumes for Andrew. You take people for granted, don’t you? Andrew’s played 100 Tests, and it feels like I’ve spent my whole career going out to bat with him. He’s going to leave a huge hole to fill. I might have to face the first ball now.”
Cook confirmed that he now expected to become involved for the first time in the stand – off with Pietersen. Hugh Morris, the managing director of England cricket, had earlier said both he and Flower planned talks with Pietersen before the tour squad for India is announced next month.
The announcement brings to an end a Test career that began with a century at Lord’s against New Zealand in May 2004, and a first – class career that was launched six years earlier with Middlesex.
He first captained England in the summer of 2006, when both Michael Vaughan and Andrew Flintoff were injured, and was discreetly disappointed when Flintoff was then chosen to lead the team to Australia for the Ashes series in the continuing absence of Vaughan.
That was a disaster, but then Vaughan returned under a new head coach, Peter Moores, and when he resigned during a home defeat by South Africa, the ECB turned to Kevin Pietersen to lead the team in all forms of the game.
However that decision backfired disastrously when the ECB judged that Pietersen’s refusal to work with Moores made the position of both untenable, leaving Strauss to pick up the reins on a permanent basis for the tour of West Indies in early 2009 in a new partnership with Andy Flower, who initially succeeded Moores on a temporary basis.
England’s first Test under the new regime ended in ignominious defeat in Jamaica, but within months the Ashes had been regained on home soil. Strauss then joined a select band of England captains to have beaten Australia at home and away with success on the triumphant tour of 2010-11, and had declared his intention to lead the team through two more Ashes series that will be played between in 2013-14. But now he has abandoned that dream.
In his statement, Strauss said : “I am extremely proud of everything I have achieved as a cricketer, and I have found myself very fortunate to play in an era when some of English cricket’s greatest moments have occurred. I have loved every minute of it. All that remains is for me to wish Andy, Alastair and the rest of the team the very best for the coming months. I will be an interested spectator.”
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