England v Pakistan, 2nd ODI, Headingley September 12, 2010

Strauss silences the doubters


It seems absurd that Andrew Strauss's place in England's one-day line-up was being debated on the day he struck 126 to set-up a 2-0 series lead against Pakistan, but during the lunch interval of the second one-day international a panel of experts on TV selected their World Cup squads and Strauss wasn't in the 15.

Neither, for that matter, was Jonathan Trott, who is England's in-form batsman of the moment in all formats and added 146 with Strauss at Headingley. But it was the absence of the current captain that provoked debate as he notched up his fifth one-day international hundred and second in three matches. The panel's reasoning behind Strauss's omission is his lack of runs straight down the ground and how he will adapt on the slower pitches in India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

Yet since returning to the one-day side in early 2009 - at that time because there was no other choice following the messy end to Kevin Pietersen's captaincy stint - Strauss has averaged 42.03 in 32 matches compared to a career mark of 35.06. He knows he will be the man leading England at the World Cup and the numbers back up that decision.

"All I can do is do my talking with the bat and help England to win cricket matches," he said. "Other people can talk as much as they like, it's pretty irrelevant to me. I've worked very hard on trying to expand my game and it's important I can lead by example. I've been in good form all summer and that helps because things tend to come a bit more naturally. I'm very happy with my game and even more happy that we are continuing to win."

However, his innings wasn't without two moments of good fortune and Pakistan were convinced he'd been caught behind on 38 when Umar Gul nipped one back off the seam. Kamran Akmal held a fine catch but Billy Doctove turned down the appeal and a few words were exchanged between batsman and bowler. It led to Shahid Afridi calling for the introduction of the umpire review system for major one-day series.

"Definitely it would be good in matches like this and in big series like this," he said. "It is important that it's in cricket now. I know in Twenty20 you don't have much time but in one-dayers you would."

But on this occasion it wasn't a clear-cut decision even on replays so the UDRS may not have even overturned the on-field call and Strauss was very content about standing his ground. "I wasn't sure if it had hit my glove," he said. "Nothing has changed in cricket, the umpires are there to make a decision and they did that."

Strauss was given a much more obvious life on 23 when Mohammad Irfan, the seven-foot pace bowler, couldn't take a simple catch at short fine-leg. Irfan later limped off with cramp for the second match running and Afridi was far from impressed with his new recruit.

"I'm really disappointed with this guy," he said. "Cricket is not all about just batting and bowling, fielding is very important and maybe if he's good in the field I will give him a chance otherwise I'm not happy."

However, Pakistan don't have many other pace options in their squad. Wahab Riaz would be a controversial selection considering his links to the ongoing spot-betting allegations while Abdul Razzaq, who has been left out of the opening two matches, is due to undergo an MRI scan on his troublesome back in the next few days.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Agus2010 on September 15, 2010, 15:19 GMT

    Honestly after the IPL the cricket get the worst stage, because of IPL most of the International player wanted to resign from International cricket (like Flintoff, Gilly and Hyden did), I am sure sooner or later all the Indian players who involved in IPL will retire from all form of cricket because of IPL, because they already know the taste of money they are getting paid whether they paly or carry water bottle and towel to their playing team mate, they make more money than if they play in international matches, that was the reason player like Tendulkar and Harbajan got rest during the tri nation match in Sri. Lanka also the team wanted the management to reduce the test matches between New zeland and want them more rest to play for IPL, no wonder if they will come during World cup 2011 because they already earn much money through IPL and who care if they win or loose Worl cup, they will tell some stupid excuse "We batted very bad and their bowlers done a good job" lol

  • irfan.ahmad1976 on September 13, 2010, 23:54 GMT

    ICC is attempting to be a Policeman of Cricket. Suspending the players just on charges. Lets recall the rules that chucking is illegal in Cricket as well but what happens when the bowler is reported. Is he suspended. I think no till the tests are complete. Its a good way to get rid of those who can damage a team. Pakistan should buy a gutter newspaper as well to blame top players of the world as it will ensure their win.... Big Shame... Rashid Latif was banned for claiming a catch on a ball that did not carry. What about Straus?? No way... He is innocent... He doesnt even know if he hits the ball with his bat, leg, hand or head to hit a six as he is innocent.. The biggest shame is for those who declared him man of the match instead of declaring him "Cheat of the Match". To become man of the match, you need to have sportsman spirit which he lacks. He should learn from his team mate Davies who has shown much more spirit than him by walking out after a nick.

  • delastbastion on September 13, 2010, 21:13 GMT

    Any one who's played cricket at any level knows when he's gloved one, make no mistake about that!, your hands are amongts the most sensitive of body parts. Andrew Strauss's comment following the "gloving incident" casts doubts on his integrity as a person and further as a captain who asserts"it's important I can lead by example" . he might just as well have left it at " the umpires are there to make a decision and they did that". things happen in cricket but by his actions........... Andrew Straus has shown he is nothing short of an ordinary desperate player, who will stoop to any levels to advance his credentials as an England player at all cost's. his actions are not consistent with that of a confident succesful english captain but rather a fringe player unsure of his future within the team. It was the most hollow century I've ever seen.

  • dummy4fb on September 13, 2010, 20:15 GMT

    It was bad luck for Pakistanis. but I dont understand what irfan doing here? no swing no pace no variety he has just bouncer...... why they are not using Razzaq

  • CricketingStargazer on September 13, 2010, 18:18 GMT

    Abdrew Strauss tends to get a fair bit of flack for "cheating". He did last summer over a couple of catches, one of which, apparently, "clearly touched the ground". It's an incident that I have watched 20 times and very little about it was clear (you can't just whether or not a catch has carried from a face-on camera well above ground level anyway). It seems to be a case of someone who is proving to be a little too successful raising the ire of opponents. I've seen far worse than the Strauss edge by other teams, including a famous case where a wicket keeper claimed a catach when the ball had ROLLED along the ground to him. If the umpire is there to decide, let him decide. Not even the most one-eyed of fans can say that the errors have all gone one way thiis summer: you get a rough decision and you show your maturity and fighting spirit by taking it and making sure that the player doesn't profit from the let-off. Too many of the comments here smack of desperation to justify a defeat.

  • dummy4fb on September 13, 2010, 17:03 GMT

    Now I am not the only one to believe that the so called match fixing allegations against pakistani players are parts of a melicious conspiracy.The point is that why they would put put their own reputation, image and carrier at risk and lose the game merely for monitary gain?. On the contrary it is more likely that England might have 'bought' the victory. They might have bribed the middleman to put the bribary plot in action? Is it not possible that they- and not the bookies- might have hired the middleman and also the Media(known for lowest standard of journalism) for hatching the plan of so called visual sting operation?. Is there no one to raise doubts and point fingers at English Players? Why? Are they angels?. If Pakistanis are labled as soldout commodities for ever, why the sting operation was not carried out before their win in the test match?. Ask Strauss, did he buy his century & chances at 23 & 38l?. Why Majid revealed his lucrative business secrets?. Biting of concious(!)?

  • EightBall on September 13, 2010, 16:34 GMT

    It's absolutely ridiculous to compare Strauss's non-walk to accepting money to bowl no-balls. I concur with Strauss's comment, "Nothing has changed in cricket, the umpires are there to make a decision..." Pakistani fans may have been hopeful at the start of this tour. But let's be realistic here. There is no dishonour to losing to this English team in England in any form of the game. For Pakistan to come to England and beat them even in 1 test was an impressive feat. Pakistan was the underdog from the get-go. The whole spot-fixing thing just made things worse for them.

  • Something_Witty on September 13, 2010, 16:27 GMT

    Why were there any doubters anyway? A decent test batsman (these days) will make a decent ODI batsman. That is what Strauss is, a decent batsman, nothing more, nothing less.

  • dummy4fb on September 13, 2010, 14:32 GMT

    I dont think strauss played a good inning, any one can do 100 he they get two chances. Irfan dropped a simple catch of strauss on akhtar bowl when he was on 23. He was dropped again by kamram akmal so thats the proven fact that catches win matches. we need razzaq no matter what I also think we should give chance to irfan through out the series. Razzaq should open the bowling with akhtar and gul and irfan should be suitable for mid overs.

  • jangli70 on September 13, 2010, 13:48 GMT

    gentleman does not go and says that he is out, no no not a person playing for his plase in team, and is white. Only good Gilchrist does it normally and he do got hammer from the white press why he had gone before the finger of empire..

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