Strauss named as England captain
Andrew Strauss has been appointed as England's captain for the first Test against Pakistan at Lord's next week.
Strauss, who led the one-day side to a 5-0 drubbing in the recent series against Sri Lanka, is not, however, a long-term appointment. He is set to hand the reins back to Andrew Flintoff, who captained England in their two most recent Test series against Sri Lanka and India, as soon as Flintoff has recovered from an ankle injury.
And so another stand-in stands in for England's Ashes captain, Michael Vaughan, whose career is slipping ever closer to an untimely end. First there was Marcus Trescothick, who fled the tour of India in mysterious circumstances, then there was Flintoff. And now Strauss.
"We are fortunate to have a very capable deputy available in Andrew Strauss and he will continue to lead the Test side in Andrew Flintoff's absence," said England's chairman of selectors, David Graveney. "Andrew Flintoff will have his ankle re-assessed in the next few days and we will have a clearer idea then of when he will be able to return to the team and take over the captaincy."
The situation is bizarrely reminiscent to the debacle that England faced in the summer of 2001, when Nasser Hussain suffered a fractured finger and of his ten remaining team-mates, only the irrepressible Darren Gough expressed an interest in leading the team out at Lord's. The job eventually fell to the reluctant former skipper, Mike Atherton, and the end result was another crushing defeat.
Strauss did, however, express his enthusiasm at picking up the poisoned chalice, as he becomes the fifth England captain in eight Tests at Lord's: "It will be a great honour to captain England in a Test Match for the first time," he said, "and to lead the team out at Lord's will be a special moment for me.
"I fully respect the decision the selectors have taken and will be happy to play under Andrew's captaincy," he added. "He proved to be an inspirational captain in the Test series in India and everyone in the dressing-room is hoping that he can make a speedy return to the side."