A couple of weeks ago I wrote about Mr Peanut (KP) – but this blog is about a man who has dignity and is willing to stand up for what he believes, fronts up – and does not hide behind his ‘people’ – including what I call a ‘fan club’ , make lame excuses for why they do what they do – ok I will stop now – this is meant to be about yes Mr Andrew Strauss – I personally salute you a top captain, a top man basically a top person and first and foremost a top player (though by his own admission not at the moment)
It was January 2009 when Straussy or Lord Snooty as he is known amongst the team (he is a bit posh – but with a core of steel) took over the reigns of the England Team – because of a manager captain fall out (no names mentioned, but lets just say the captain flexed his muscles and was got burned – not for the first time in his career either). He took over, set the rules and stabilised the team – which became number one team in the world (more on this later). He was a very good captain in my opinion – yes tactically on occasion he could be found wanting and was defensive at times but he instilled in his players the discipline that was required to be the best. Including two Ashes victories, one in Australia no less.
Anyways back to the press conference. Straussy cited issues with his batting and performances as the main reason for his departure which is understandable, he has had a poor run and his final two dismissals in cricket were the type of a man whose technique has been failing him. I was surprised he has decided to retire from all cricket though but he was honest and could easily have stayed on at Middlesex but knew he did not have the motivation to continue in the long term so decided the time is right to end his cricketing career
Now at this stage I bet your thinking I must be getting paid to praise him as some paragon of virtue. I respect Straussy as he was a superb captain, basically he became England captain about two years too late, after the ridiculous decision to give the captaincy to Andrew Flintoff for the 5-0 Ashes drubbing in 2006/2007 and then onto another guy – who made serious mistakes too, though admittedly he was better than Freddie you see I can be positive about him.
Andrew is not immune to criticism from me. Firstly the team he has assembled whilst admittedly very good, there were still weaknesses – not helped by our press but they were lauded as so much better than any other test playing nation when at number one in the world, however my thoughts were there was not much between the top test nations and home advantage was massive, and that’s why the win in Oz was such a coup and his highlight as captain. Also his recent record has not been the greatest, some of the players seemed to think they needed to just turn up to win series with Pakistan and Sri Lanka (3-0 and 1-1 respectively – with 6 defeats in the 11 tests this year too) – and surely its up to the management team to make sure the players are not getting ideas above their station and becoming complacent.
Some people will say that a lack of management may have contributed to recent issues within the test team and obviously questions were asked as to whether this influenced his decision to call it quits, and as usual he dealt with it just like an opener should – with a straight bat and ultimate professionalism – if only all the current(ish) players in the set up could do the same.
Anyways in my KP blog I mentioned the tricky run of fixtures (test matches) England have (4 tests in India, a total of 5 with New Zealand (3 at home and 2 away) before back to back Ashes series. I wished wished Straussy good luck with that lot – I now transfer that luck to Mr Alistair Cook – you are going need it – what a start for the new captain and it aint just the cricket he is going to have to deal with.
Farewell Mr Strauss a man of very high moral standard – In my opinion anyways.
Postscript – Mr Graeme Smith – got rid of Nasser, got rid of Vaughny and now Mr Strauss – CAN YOU JUST STOP NOW PLEASE!!!!!!!