England captaincy August 4, 2008

Pietersen will have 'full support' - Strauss

Cricinfo staff


Andrew Strauss: "I think that selfish aspect is overplayed. He [Kevin Pietersen] would probably admit in his youth he was a bit like that but I don't think he is like that so much now" © AFP
 

Andrew Strauss, England's Test opener, has said that he is "disappointed" because he "would have liked to have done the Test job" but has expressed support for Kevin Pietersen, England's new captain, in all formats of the game.

The appointment was made on Monday after Michael Vaughan stepped down as Test captain and Paul Collingwood quit the one-day role, and though Pietersen was the clear favourite, Strauss's name had cropped up in media speculation.

"The selectors had a decision to make. They spoke long and hard about which direction they wanted to go in," Strauss told AFP. "If they wanted a captain for all three formats including Twenty20, the list would have been short. I'm not involved in two of the formats and Alastair Cook hasn't been in the Twenty20 side recently. I would have liked to have done the Test job and, to that degree, I am disappointed I have not been given the opportunity."

Sharing his disappointment is the former England coach, Duncan Fletcher. "I would have put Andrew Strauss in as captain," Fletcher said. "I would have said for the moment 'put him in the one-day game'. I was a little bit surprised when the name of Kevin Pietersen came up to captain England. It is from the point of view that he has not really been playing for England for long, and secondly he has no experience - which is crucial.

"You have to have some experience of captaincy."

Strauss said that the team was "very sad" that Vaughan had to step down and "you only had to see how much it meant to Michael Vaughan yesterday to realise it is an encompassing job." He said having someone else in charge was going to take some getting used to.

"It is a brave decision because KP [Pietersen] hasn't done much captaincy before. But I think he has matured a lot in the last couple of years," Strauss said. "It is going to be a massive job. He will have an abundance of confidence to believe he can do it and he will have the full support of all the players around him.

"KP is a very decisive person and I am sure he will feel he is up to the challenge. It is a bit of a step into the unknown because he hasn't captained before but it is a new start for us. I think he does play for the team. I think that selfish aspect is overplayed. He would probably admit in his youth he was a bit like that but I don't think he is like that so much now.

"The one thing I would say about Kevin is, everything he has done in his career so far, he has easily stepped up to the mark and found a way to deal with it. He is an exceptional batsman and it would take quite a lot for something external to affect his batting."

Cook, England's other Test opener, thought Strauss had "a really good chance" of becoming captain but said that Pietersen "demands respect with his batting".

"He's also not shy of making the big decisions - those big decisions are not going to affect that style of guy," Cook said. "He hasn't done too much captaining before so it will be interesting but all I know is he has the support of everyone."

Pietersen will lead England in the fourth Test against South Africa which begins on August 7 at The Oval.

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