England v SA, 3rd Investec Test, Lord's, 5th day August 20, 2012

Strauss wants to map out future


Andrew Strauss has no immediate intentions of marking his 100th Test by resigning from the captaincy after England's 2-0 Test series defeat against South Africa, their heaviest defeat in a home Test series for 11 years.

"Hope so," was his brief response when he was asked at the presentation ceremony at Lord's if he wanted to captain England as they try to reclaim the top Test ranking which they have held so shakily for the past year.

But there was little disguising that England's poor performances in their year as Test No 1, his own poor form and the stand-off with Kevin Pietersen, all hang more heavily upon him than he cares to indicate.

Half-an-hour later, pressed whether his enthusiasm for captaincy of the Test side had been galvanised by a spirited run chase on the final day at Lord's, he was more equivocal and declined to reaffirm his desire to remain in the role unconditionally.

"It's probably hard to answer that after the week that's just gone by," he said. "It's been a tiring week. I've great faith in the team; I've great faith in the set-up. I've still got a lot of desire there. I'm keen to get away for a few days and have a bit of a break. Then we all need to sit down - myself and Andy Flower in particular - and try and map out the way forward. I've got great faith in the talent in the dressing room, and also the desire in the dressing room and we're going to need that."

During England's time as No 1, they have lost six of their 11 Tests this year, losing to Pakistan in the UAE and at home to a South Africa side who out-performed them in all facets of the game. The last time England lost a home Test series by more than one match was against Australia, who prevailed 3-1 in the 2001 Ashes.

Strauss, who failed to make a half-century in the series, admitted that it had been a difficult year, one which he would remember: "Not with a great deal of fondness".

He said: "We have had some tough times and I think that is a good thing. Test cricket tests out your character and your resilience. When you are No. 1 people are trying to gun you down and we have come unstuck a few times. I think we have learned a lot along the way.

"We've lost a lot more than we would have wanted to. Maybe that tag of being No 1 hasn't sat as comfortably as it should have done with us. We haven't been in that situation before, and maybe we've learned from some important lessons on how we should approach it in the future. Our first priority is to get back in that situation.

"Whether it was because of a change of mindset - from being the hunters to the ones that are hunted - I don't know. Or maybe we came unstuck in the sub-continent and lost a bit of confidence along the way. I don't know the exact answers right now. But those are the sort of questions we need to find answers to.

"When you reach No. 1 you have to up your performance, you can't rest on your laurels, you can't afford any bad days, you have to be hungry, just as motivated. Although I can't fault the effort the guys have put in, in certain areas we haven't been quite on the ball.

"It will be a shame to hand over that mace to South Africa but right at the moment they deserve to be No 1 and we will come back."

Strauss identified England's poor catching and flimsy top-order batting as the primary reasons England lost the series. "The obvious thing to focus on is that our batting was below-par and we dropped catches," he said.

"In a three-Test series in particular, dropping those sort of catches against a good batting line-up can be the difference between winning and losing games. We've got to sit back and have a look at everything, really: how we're training; everything we can control; can we do it better?

"We were never favourites to win the game today, but I thought the spirit the guys showed and the never-say-die attitude they displayed was a great credit to all the players. This was how I expected the whole series to play out - very close games of cricket, small margins between the sides."

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Andy on August 23, 2012, 21:23 GMT

    @gerrardl: India didn't deserve to be table toppers, I am an Indian and I strongly believe in that but if you are going to call delusional then u will be the biggest fool around. India haven't lost a single test series backyard in over 7 years, we have played almost all top sides back at home, what's your team's track record of not losing a test series back home. SA have been the only side challenging India in their own backyard constantly, Eng were pathetic in their previous tours so were Aus, even though Aus put up much better fight than what Eng did. You mean India whitewashing your highly overrated side ? Swann vs Right Handers will be fun to watch on how he will be smashed to all parts of ground or your faster bowlers who rely only on swing to win matches ? You are coming to India mister and not playing in Eng to get swing, we have seen your English side losing 5-0 twice back up to back series in India, the one under KP captaincy and the one recently as well. Enough Said !!!

  • Peter on August 22, 2012, 10:03 GMT

    @DeathKnell. I am hardly insecure. I read too many Indian supporters, not true ones, write about how England didn't deserve to be #1 & gloating about that loss. Your post, to be truthful, inferred the same way about the rain saving England. The 2nd test was very open to either side, as I pointed out. And still, you don't give England the credit they deserve. As an Aussie, we have an interesting relationship with them, we LOVE beating them, but as a cricket follower (and a player) I enjoy a good contest. These last tests were contests. That is what I enjoy wtaching.

  • Mudassar on August 22, 2012, 9:54 GMT

    england is a great side...i always enjoy attacking kind of cricket from england side [which has been missing since india series 2001]. but i am sure england will bounce back as they have got some outstanding players. [pakistani fan]

  • Big on August 22, 2012, 9:04 GMT

    glance_to_leg: I should say what are you talking about? There was no triumphalism after Eng gained #1? Really? I was on these pages then and Eng supporters were crawling out of the woodwork disparaging India, saying they never deserved to be #1, how their recent record in SA/Aus/Eng was pathetic (though amply disproved by Indian supporters). I like to think I am fair, but it was quite unpleasant to see the triumphalism of Eng as u put it.. I know I did not dream about reading all that was said. Lots of Indian fans acknowledged on these pages that Eng were clearly superior in that series and deserved to win, but there was mockery from Eng. So I find it highly amusing when you say "India, Oz, SA" dont have a sense of humour. Puhleeeze!

  • Knowledge on August 22, 2012, 7:43 GMT

    Strauss means Clarke!! Only focusing relations with the Selectors/Managment. No matter if team's performance is effected. KP is Ketich is Gayle

  • Mathew on August 22, 2012, 0:49 GMT

    SA no.1 and like many have said justified. However if they think their own teams can beat us they have another thing coming. Eng have shown true English grit here and gave reasonable account of themselves. Off pitch antics were a distraction but this is not an excuse, simply put we were beaten by the better side. The last 2 games could of gone either way and were both very tight games. Gripping stuff and I look forward to SA v Aus and Eng Ind, 2 very exciting series to come.

  • David on August 22, 2012, 0:19 GMT

    DingDong420: What an earth are you on about? I have seen little sign of either ENglish players or fans being too big for their boots (unless one counts the absurdly arrogant KP). Of course, England fans enjoyed doing well, and dislike losing their top sport, but I have seen almost uniform acknowledgment that the better side (SA) won, and deservedly so. There has since been reflection on whether Strauss is the right man to lead: he is pretty much uniformly admired and respected, but tactical limitations and age count against him, given that he is no longer scoring heavily. This is simply intelligent debate. There was actually little triumphalism when England were at the top of the pile, beyond gloating at Australia's discomforture (a justifiable response given the usual rhetoric from the Antipodes). Why do so many Indians and others hate England? I think English good humour & sportsmanship (broadly shared by Pakistan, SL, WI, NZ but alien to India, SA and Oz) is seen as a threat.

  • Dummy4 on August 21, 2012, 23:01 GMT

    If you look at the last 4 Captains of England the sign is hanging waiting to be pinned up. All of them resigned as Captain and not much later from test cricket. Michael Atherton 115 Tests 7728 averaging 37.69, Michael Vaughn 82 tests 5719 averaging 41.44, Nasser Hussain 96 Tests 5764 runs averaging and now strauss 100 with 7037 runs averaging 40.91. So it will be a fitting end to add his name to the smith's mantel piece at this time.

  • Dummy4 on August 21, 2012, 22:58 GMT

    I wouldn't be so sure about India beating England, the players have become rich and arrogant playing in the IPL. Test cricket has become a chore. India struggled to beat a poor West Indies and just in case no one has noticed the two honest Indian cricketers who always give it their all Dravid and Laxman have just retired. I expect the Indian team to once again go through the motions.

  • Dummy4 on August 21, 2012, 22:55 GMT

    time to leave the show Strauss, hopefully Cook can start rebuilding , could see few senior players getting the chop.

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