England in crisis January 9, 2009

Strauss takes charge for whole tour

Cricinfo staff


Andrew Strauss has been recalled as ODI captain today © Getty Images
 
Andrew Strauss has been appointed as England's captain for the entire tour of the West Indies, 24 hours after being unveiled as the new Test skipper. He will work alongside the current coaching set-up, headed by Andy Flower, although according to an ECB statement, his one-day captaincy will be reviewed at the end of the tour, leaving open the possibility that England could yet seek their fourth captain in 12 months should results not go to plan.

"The selectors feel that it is important to have stability and continuity on the Caribbean tour given the events of the last few days," said England's national selector, Geoff Miller. "Andrew and I have also agreed that we will review the one-day captaincy at the end of the tour. Andrew is extremely comfortable with that."

Strauss was the stand-out choice to succeed Kevin Pietersen in the longer form of the game, but admitted that the situation regarding the one-day job remained "in a state of flux". He has not been a part of England's ODI set-up since being dropped during their ill-fated World Cup campaign in the Caribbean two years ago.

In 78 ODIs to date, Strauss averages 31.98 with a strike-rate of 75.82 runs per hundred balls, which compares favourably to the record of his former captain, Michael Vaughan, who averaged 27.15 from 86 matches, with a strike-rate of 68.39.

His efforts also compare favourably to the current ODI opener, Ian Bell, whose average (35.47) is higher, but whose strike rate (72.36) is lower. One of England's current top-order will have to make way to accommodate the new captain, and that man could be Bell, whose form fell away badly on the recent tour of India. Strauss has two ODI centuries to his name, with a highest score of 152 against Bangladesh in 2005.

"I am delighted to lead the team in the one-day Internationals and Twenty20. I know I haven't played an ODI since the end of the World Cup in 2007 but I do feel that I have something to offer in that form of the game," Strauss said. "Now this situation has been resolved we can now all unite and get about the business of winning cricket matches for England and winning them consistently."

Should the West Indies series, which comprises five ODIs and a Twenty20 international, not go to plan, the other alternative would be to revert to the split captaincy format, with Paul Collingwood the likeliest choice to resume the role he relinquished in favour of Pietersen back in August.

Strauss will be supported in the Caribbean by Flower, England assistant coach, and Phil Neale, England team operations manager as well as England's other specialist coaches and support staff. Although no official interim appointment has been made, Cricinfo understands that Flower will be the senior man in the coaching hierarchy, and has been named, along with Strauss, as one of the three selectors on tour.

The ECB refused to comment on reports in The Guardian that Pietersen had wanted Flower removed from his post along with Peter Moores, though Cricinfo understands that Flower has since sought assurances from the ECB about his long-term future in the England set-up, and remains in the frame to take over the role on a full-time basis.

Hugh Morris, England cricket's managing director, said: "We have a backroom team with a proven track record. They will all work very closely with Andrew Strauss during this tour with the sole aim of securing success in the Test, ODI and T20 matches."

A successful tour will enhance Flower's prospects of securing the full-time role, although competition could yet come from the Western Australia coach, Tom Moody, who did not rule out his candidature while speaking to reporters in Perth.

"You'd look at anything," said Moody. "This day and age, you're not going to turn your back on any opportunity, [but] I'm very happy here in Perth, [the] family is settled, I've got a great job, enjoying what I'm doing. I've got no reason to be looking further afield."

Meanwhile Moores has spoken for the first time since losing his job. In a brief interview with Sky Sports News, Moores described the events of the past week as "interesting" and said that a full statement would be coming out shortly. On the subject of Pietersen, Moores buried any animosity saying: "Kevin's got to go on, hopefully, and I want to see a successful England team."

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