September 2, 2012

English cricket

Why did Strauss quit at 35?

Kanishkaa Balachandran

At 35, Andrew Strauss was never 'old' in cricketing terms. While he could have carried on as a player, he quit because of the insecurity over his own poor batting form or motivation to climb back up, writes Mike Brearley in the Guardian.

He said to me that, if he had continued, for England and/or for Middlesex, failure would have got to him while successes may no longer have been so much a source of satisfaction. He did not bat badly against South Africa; but he feels that, if he had continued as captain, he would have needed to put so much into this job that there might not be enough left for his batting.

In the Telegraph, Sycld Berry writes that Alastair Cook should ensure the Test captaincy doesn't affect his own batting form, as has been the case with several England captains in the last two decades. He adds that Cook should take Strauss' place at first slip to be closer to the action.

Then the job no longer buoys but weighs the captain down. Overload sets in as the captaincy starts to consume every waking moment: caring for every England player, the media appearances, the charity work, the reviewing and the planning — and that is before Kevin Pietersen has reared his head. Compartmentalisation fades away; the captain has ever less time and energy for his own game.

In the same paper, Steve James hopes Strauss will make a foray into cricket administration.

Strauss is easily depicted as a conservative diplomat, but he has strong views both on the running of a cricket team and of the game itself. When he took over as England captain Strauss immediately encouraged personal responsibility, as well as the compilation of a team charter. One key line was: “The team is not a lease car.” In other words do not treat it as if to be returned with little attention to its condition.

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Kanishkaa Balachandran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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