August 29, 2012

English cricket

Strauss: the dignified role model

Abhishek Mukherjee

Andrew Strauss may have had problems related to his batting or with his approach sometimes as an overall pragmatic captain, but he conducted himself with utmost dignity as an England captain off the field. After Strauss retired from professional cricket, Mike Selvey, writing in the Guardian, judges him and what his retirement means to England.

But beyond the field of play, he maintained total control, his relationship with Andy Flower as complete as had been those of Hussain and Vaughan with Flower's predecessor, Duncan Fletcher. He was not just the safe choice to help clean up the mess left by the Kevin Pietersen-Peter Moores fiasco, he was the only choice. Through it, from the watershed clear-the-air team meeting in the immediate Jamaican aftermath of the humiliating 51 all out innings defeat in his first match as official captain in February 2009, he gained the unequivocal respect of all his players, something he was not to lose until, it seems, recently.

Rob Smyth, writing for the same newspaper, pays tribute to Strauss, for providing cricket fans with once-in-a-lifetime memories and for his traits of decency and "equilibrium" in his tenure as the England captain.

Strauss has been one of the best things to happen to English cricket in the Spin's lifetime, a monument of unflinching decency and underestimated talent who has almost imperceptibly enriched our lives. If there is one word that defines Strauss's career, it is probably 'equilibrium'. He rarely dealt in sexy or showy gestures, and had no inclination to distinguish between Kipling's two imposters. He was a reassuring constant and a positive force for English cricket.

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