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Andrew Strauss retires

Dignified Strauss gets his timing right

Andrew Strauss has faced plenty of distractions in recent weeks, but it was his own struggle for form and desire to do what is best for the team that led him to retire

David Hopps

August 29, 2012

Comments: 60 | Text size: A | A

Andrew Strauss walks off in his 100th Test having made 1, England v South Africa, 3rd Investec Test, Lord's, 4th day, August 19, 2012
Andrew Strauss departs after what became his last Test innings, which was fittingly at Lord's - a focal ground in his career © Getty Images

Far too much will be made of the fact that Kevin Pietersen's disloyalty has hastened the retirement of one of the most successful and respected captains in England's Test history.

When the high-maintenance player you imagine you have managed so skilfully over the years sends contemptuous texts to opposing players it is liable to encourage the exhausted belief that if that is what support and admiration brings you there is little value in carrying on any more.

Perhaps Pietersen did add to the fatigue that has been creeping up on Andrew Strauss for much of the past year. He has certainly sullied the manner of his captain's departure and one hopes he feels a little guilty about that, but Strauss is not the sort to retreat from tough situations.

It should not be allowed to mask a far greater truth: this was the right time to go.

Strauss has not become an unwary victim of Pietersen's ego; he has gathered his thoughts on a holiday in Spain after a series defeat against South Africa and had the sense to recognise that, however much he wanted to survive for another 18 months and captain England in two back-to-back Ashes series, his motivation and ability was beginning to wane.

"I have run my race," he said. "It is a personal decision. You know when the time is up."

If anything, Pietersen's stand-off with England was likely to make Strauss stay for longer, against his better judgment. He would have yearned to leave a contented, successful, unified dressing room for his successor, Alastair Cook, and despite all his achievements and best intentions fate has meant he has been unable to do that.

As he ducked his head to read his prepared statement to a media conference at Lord's, confirming his retirement from all forms of professional cricket, the time felt right, and not just because his thinning hair suddenly seemed more prominent in the TV lights. It is extraordinary how the very moment a sportsman decides to go can age him automatically, as if the dam has been breached and resistance to the passage of time is no longer quite as absolute.

Befitting his traditional outlook on life when he did decide to retire, he sat down and wrote personal letters of thanks and comradeship to his England team-mates and members of the coaching staff. After the last few weeks, it was a damn sight classier than text messaging.

Push aside the vexing Pietersen question that Cook now inherits and believe Strauss when he says that the thought of retirement had been growing for the past six to 12 months and that he had seen the South Africa series as "a crossroads moment." That he became the third England captain to be forced into retirement after defeat by a South Africa Test side led by Graeme Smith was not the sunlit departure he might have wanted, but he was brave enough to recognise the realities of his situation.

Others had felt it, too. As his Test career reached its final stages, he began to seem more valuable, even if sub-consciously, for his off-the-field managerial skills than his on-the-field performances. It was hard to pin down, but his life was changing, his playing career slipping out of kilter.

His career, as another former England captain, Michael Atherton, neatly put it had been in "gentle decline." But at least his statistics could not have been left much tidier: 100 Tests, 50 as captain, and his career ending as it had begun to the applause of the Lord's crowd, his emotional home. He even finished his Middlesex career with an unbeaten hundred against Nottinghamshire at Uxbridge. The sense of order will have appealed to him.

But it not statistics for which Strauss will most be valued. It is for what Hugh Morris, England's managing director, called his "remarkable leadership and direction."

Throughout his success, as England won back-to-back Ashes series and spent a year at the top of the Test rankings, he has conducted himself with immense decency on and off the field

This accolade is far more meaningful than a stock phrase issued to any long-serving captain upon retirement. Many England captains have shown admirable qualities - the tenacity of Nasser Hussain, the tactical acuity of Michael Vaughan or Raymond Illingworth, the mystique that surrounded Mike Brearley. But perhaps none have captained England with such a broad sense of what was right and proper than Strauss.

From the moment he took over early in 2009, with England riven by a stand-off between his predecessor as captain, Pietersen, and the coach Peter Moores, which caused both men to lose their jobs, he became the acceptable face of English cricket. His relationship with Andy Flower, England's team director, was strong and productive, and it suited Flower that Strauss became the easy communicator.

Throughout his success, as England won back-to-back Ashes series and spent a year at the top of the Test rankings, he has conducted himself with immense decency on and off the field. Under his calm leadership, players discovered that unity was strength. He has consistently spread sound values: resolve, togetherness, perspective, geniality, equilibrium.

His loyalty to English cricket has come before a loyalty to himself and it has seemed a perfectly natural sense of priorities. His sense of the team ethic was outstanding. His empathy towards the players he commanded brought respect and, as his place began to be questioned, fierce loyalty.

He saw the small picture, respecting players as individuals by encouraging them to be responsible for their own actions, and he managed the big picture, giving English cricket strong moral leadership when and where he could on a range of issues affecting the game. As his authority grew, the nickname of Lord Brockett, given to him by Andrew Flintoff because of his public school upbringing, was quietly discarded.

From the moment that he experienced a Middlesex dressing room as a young professional up from Durham University "where the person who shouted the loudest normally won the argument," he sought to lead with a greater degree of thought and sensitivity. In all England's most stressful moments - debating over whether to tour Zimbabwe or to return to India to fulfil a Test series after the terrorist attack on Mumbai, or settling England with one of his four Ashes centuries - he came to the fore. His average of 40.91, signifying a decent player but not an exceptional one, is probably about right.

It is good to hear that he would like to stay in cricket. Those in cricket's top jobs must feel a little uneasy about that. "Dear Andrew," as Giles Clarke, the chairman of the ECB once referred to him as he was about to assume the England captaincy - a fondness that he amplified after his retirement in a strikingly tenacious tribute - can still have a role to play in English cricket.

It would be a conservative revolution, with the traditions of the game very much to the fore, but it would be one with a sense of direction where integrity, decency and the good of the game would be expected to prevail.

This piece was updated at 5.20pm on August 29 with additional information

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Plz_Dont_Get_Whitewashed on (August 31, 2012, 19:02 GMT)

I will always remember Strauss for that 150+ score he made against India in the World Cup 2011 ! .... I was sweating bullets and chomping my nails in sheer tension till Andrew was on the crease whacking our bowlers all over the park!!! ;) Will always remember that Andy. (From an appreciative Indian Fan)

Posted by RandyOZ on (August 30, 2012, 23:58 GMT)

@Hammond - first of all, welcome back, we've missed you during the entire Suoth Africa series. Secondly, leave the commentary to the experts champ, your clueless points of view serve no purpose.

Posted by akbarbirbal007 on (August 30, 2012, 18:20 GMT)

A very good decision in the end most of the overseas players(read cricketers from outside asian subcontinent) know when to hang their boots,be it strauss,steve waugh,mcgrath,cairns,astle,fleming..they retire at their prime unlike the indians make an inglorious exit to their glorious careers,be it shastri,kapil,gavaskar,sidhu in the past or dravid,laxman being the latest ones.

Posted by JerryV on (August 30, 2012, 16:24 GMT)

@Iwerneanffontmell. The Ashes are important but Australia aren't what they used to be. I think we have a much bigger challenge coming up in India.

Posted by aurorion on (August 30, 2012, 13:46 GMT)

Why are people bringing Sachin Tendulkar into this discussion? Strauss was compelled to retire because he was not performing well enough anymore, and perhaps he was not enjoying cricket enough anymore. But Tendulkar apparently still enjoys playing cricket, and he is still performing. Sure, he has been under-performing by his lofty standards for the past few months: but his performance even during this apparent lean period has been arguably better that Strauss's performance on an average over his entire career. Please, don't compare Strauss to Tendulkar: there is no comparison at all. Strauss served English cricket well, but it was time to move on for him. It's time for the English board to bring back their best batsman and have the best team on the field.

Posted by Hammond on (August 30, 2012, 12:58 GMT)

Andrew, rest on your laurels mate, you were a great captain, better than all your contemporaries. You have eternal fans, even in Australia.

Posted by Iwerneanffontmell on (August 30, 2012, 12:53 GMT)

In response to Morne Steyn Smit, the fact is that most cricket lovers in this country would trade World No.1 status for stuffing the Aussies. The fact SA are now No.1 doesn't amount to the proverbial hill of beans when we have more the important matter of back-to-back Ashes series coming up. Just like Olympic athletes who gear themselves to peak every 4 years English cricket is more concerned with peaking for the Ashes. That is why Strauss is lauded above most. SA simply do not have a natural competitor in cricket like this so you cannot really comprehend this rivalry. Had you not been banned from international cricket for so long you might understand what is was like being stuffed by Australia for 20 odd years. Being beaten by SA was obviously disappointing but arguably being beaten by Pakistan was truly appalling - but Strauss had beaten Australia so we simply didn't care.

Posted by shajw on (August 30, 2012, 12:24 GMT)

A dignified exit by a dignified man. Well played, Straussy - you'll always be worth more than a hundred Pietersens in my book.

Posted by RandyOZ on (August 30, 2012, 9:15 GMT)

The title is a joke right? If he got the timing right he wouldve retired 3 years ago. He never came back after Warne found him out.

Posted by venkatesh018 on (August 30, 2012, 9:03 GMT)

Andrew Strauss, like most things in his career, has got the timing of his exit absolutely right. Always a dignified cricketer and leader. Wish you the very best in your future endeavours, Straussy.

Posted by jplterrors on (August 30, 2012, 7:54 GMT)

@ all KP fans out there.. This is a nightmare 4 u lot as with this theres no way they will pick him again, 2 careers ended in the same series the Kiwis can smell blood!

Posted by   on (August 30, 2012, 7:52 GMT)

i think as a person , strauss is better than pieterson but pieterson is better batsman.... so its diff to support .......

Posted by   on (August 30, 2012, 7:24 GMT)

Strauss set a great example, and they calm, mature way he has brought his career to a close has been admirable. I'm just not sure I agree with the view that the time was right and that his career was on the slide. It was only back in May that he scored centuries in consecutive Tests, and led England to a 2-0 win over the West Indies. Against SA, he's had a run of three poor Test matches: it's called form!

Posted by topeleven on (August 30, 2012, 7:16 GMT)

A decent captain and a good player. I wish him all the best for his future. It seems reaching 21 centuries is a curse for any English Player....

Posted by googletalk on (August 30, 2012, 7:02 GMT)

There is a gulf of difference between English and Indian cricketing culture. Atleast way of their [Both England and India] last few captain's departure shows that. hats off to Strauss.

Posted by arya_underfoot on (August 30, 2012, 6:52 GMT)

nothing but respect for strauss's dignified and measured handling of his retirement. a great example for all ageing cricketers, and indeed sportsmen. well done andrew...

Posted by   on (August 30, 2012, 6:00 GMT)

Strauss gets his timing spot on and waltzes into the hall of retirement. Not a legend but a very good phlegmatic player. Englands answer to Gary Kirsten and Mark Taylor. When will Sachin retire with equal grace? When will Indian cricketers learn to heed an inner call to accept that they are not good any more for the game?

Posted by Sunman81 on (August 30, 2012, 4:30 GMT)

why blame KP for Strauss retirement? Pls give him a break... Strauss retired due to his declined batting form for a long time... having lost an important series at home and losing #1, he would have taken this decision... It is very mischievous to connect this with KP saga...

Posted by   on (August 30, 2012, 3:16 GMT)

Quite funny post match interview @ Lords Andrew Strauss was adamant that he was to be the leader of England regaining no1 status. Fact is he has reached the realization that it was over when he was on family retreat and finally succumbed to the battering he has received in a Test series where they never gave any thought of a draw never mind a loss. English pride was hurt and forced into submission. Heroics on final day makes a brave face but face it that was too late. England will hopefully start a program where it's cricketers don't over value themselves because of Ashes glory! Every scribe insists that is greatness 2 Ashes victories. Forget losses to SA and Pakistan. Only winning at home to mediocre teams. The pomp of no1 was pure mathematics beating sides at home in many Tests. Since 2006 England have played 18 more than SA any partisan spectator can see how it was obtained. Ashes victories are valued but lets face it, so is winning abroad!

Posted by RajitD on (August 30, 2012, 3:06 GMT)

Thanks David. I completely understand the need to bring KP in the equation, for the simple reason that he does feature in it. This anyways about Andrew Strauss. A thorough gentleman who managed to take his team to the top, About time Sachin gets such feelings.

Posted by Prats6 on (August 30, 2012, 2:50 GMT)

Hinestly, he quit when people asked 'why' rather than 'why not'. Good Job.

Posted by krik8crazy on (August 30, 2012, 2:44 GMT)

Nice timing on Strauss's part. He has taken his time and made up his mind. If he had been in better form perhaps he could have continued for a while longer but with the runs drying up, continuing to play would have become a painful chore.

Strauss along with Andy Flower has done a great job of restoring team spirit and discipline in the England team. Tough competitor, disciplined hard worker, no frills, no nonsense player - that is what I will remember Strauss as. I wish him a great life post retirement.

Posted by phoenixsteve on (August 29, 2012, 21:19 GMT)

Thank you Andrew Strauss for all you have contributed to English crcket. You have been a great adverisemnet for all that is English with gentlemanly reserve and a quiet confidence. Now just persuade Flower and Morris to follow your example please! I see a future for Sir Andrew Flower - Aussie basher! COME ON ENGLAND!!!

Posted by crickeyt on (August 29, 2012, 20:56 GMT)

@David Hopps: Here is why the media is misleading readers on the Strauss retirement. Strauss was categorically asked whether the KP issue hastened his exit. He denied it, saying that he had already spoken to Andy Flower before the SA series. Strauss definitively stated that his lack of runs is the reason for retiring. The media's response is to speculate ad nauseum just how much the KP issue caused Strauss to retire. When knowledgeable cricket fans point out this lack of classiness in the media's behavior, they are admonished for not focusing on the wonderful career of Strauss. If the first three paragraphs of your article are speculating on how KP might have affected Strauss and you fill the rest with snide innuendos about classy letter-writing Strauss versus crass text-messaging KP, then are the readers to be blamed for believing that the KP issue is larger in the minds of the media than in the mind of Andrew Strauss? Just who is being indecent here - we fans or the reporters?

Posted by Emancipator007 on (August 29, 2012, 20:45 GMT)

@Red37:judging by your diatribe here, I am sure many of your students would not be remiss in terming you a smug teacher.In today's world of feedback surveys and the like where students can also comment on teachers, they would have a lot to say about u just like u have the right to on their undergraduate submissions. @Nutcutlet, I seem to remember you saying Strauss was comparable to Brearley. Would Brearley so badly have managed KP? Botham was no less an egotist during his pomp but Mike was rarely bothered about that;knowing that his job was just to harness' Both's immense skills and form during his reign to gain victiories.Something Strauss absolutely in the name of clich├ęd team unity failed to do and instead allowed cliques supporting him to develop.

Posted by   on (August 29, 2012, 20:41 GMT)

I am intervening and personally moderating Janmeet's comment. It bears no relation to any reasonable interpretation of cricket history. It would be helpful if those offended by KP's omission from the England side dealt in substantiated opinions and not deliberate misreadings of the piece or, much worse, baseless personal attacks upon Andrew Strauss that are libellious and have no basis in reality.Otherwise the moderators will have to be paid so much overtime that cricinfo will be bankrupt by the morning.

Posted by Emancipator007 on (August 29, 2012, 20:36 GMT)

Shocking about scurrilous jibes at KP in a Strauss tribute piece;almost libelous.Texting was just a recent issue. So-called KP saga was festering since long & was badly managed by the Andys (esp the 'dictatorial' Flower).Irony is that KP could have perhaps helped draw or even win the 3rd Test for Strauss to extend his reign.Why do only KP admirers have to see the saga for what it was: badly managed affairs and failing to protect/harness the team's best asset. Has KP ever willfully underperformed or undermined Eng on the playing field-the most critical issue here rather than formats-retirement, IPL etc. Going by the author's logic about team unity, decorum and the like, he would not have wanted players like Warne,Viv (no less pompous than KP),Lillee (openly undermined Hughes' captaincy),Botham to ever play Tests. As one poster said, even Tendulkar's "ego-needs" has been managed by BCCI. KP gets vilified for just choosing or discarding formats?Bond,Malinga,Lee, SRT had all done that.

Posted by cricraz on (August 29, 2012, 20:09 GMT)

I had lot more respect for Andrew Strauss until the KP episode. If he was a true unselfish leader, he would have had a talk with KP and then let him play out the 3rd test because that is what would have helped England. In his leadership position, he could have convinced ECB the need for KP in tests and T20 and resting him for ODI as opposed to their present policy. If he truly was disciplinarian and team guy,why did he not reprimand Swann for his comments on KP while still playing for England. Why did he not address Broad's role in KP parody on Twitter. I beleive Mr Strauss was intimidated by KP and let Broad and Swann be KP baiters.

Posted by whoster on (August 29, 2012, 19:09 GMT)

Straussy has never been selfish - as the timing of this retirement shows. If he chose to carry on, I've no doubt he'd have had the support of the players, fans and media. He's acknowledged the fact that he hasn't made enough runs in the past couple of years, and this is a good time to hand the reigns to Cook. Of course the KP issue has added to the pressure on Strauss, and people complaining that this article makes too much of it are talking rubbish. Even without that major distraction, I think Strauss knew his time was up. He's been a brilliant captain and batsman for England, someone who was great at motivating his side, and he always put the team before himself. He's captained two winning Ashes teams, a team that whitewashed India to become no.1, and he'll have some great memories of being involved with one of England's best ever sides. We English know what it's like to struggle, and thanks in no small part to Straussy, we had a team to really be proud of. All the best to him.

Posted by   on (August 29, 2012, 18:07 GMT)

he knows when to quit. hope asian players too knows when to quit n not wait till the last moment before get kicked out/ quit after getting kicked out n not selected again

Posted by   on (August 29, 2012, 17:11 GMT)

it is ridiculous to bring KP in to this.. look at what england and strauss has done over the last few series (barring WI). they lost 3-0 to pak.. and now2-0 to SA (if not for KP it would have been 3-0).. and without KP they are going to be trashed by India in India.. It is better for strauss to retire now rather than face further humiliation. We can give glorious tributes, but the fact is Strauss has crossed the expiry date as a batsman..

Posted by Noball_Specialist on (August 29, 2012, 17:11 GMT)

I think it was a tad bad taste to bring Kevin Peterson into the picture. First and foremost a tribute is due. Then the speculation about his 'hastened' exit.

Posted by   on (August 29, 2012, 17:07 GMT)

All the best Andrew and thanks. I hope you choose a career that uses and develops your leadership skills (so please not another Skysports pundit!!)

Posted by Giscard on (August 29, 2012, 17:05 GMT)

Will miss you so much Strauss, one of the finest opener and a gentleman, you would be remembered for your character. You played one great innings in India during the last World Cup, I expected more from you.

All the Best!!

Posted by jango_moh on (August 29, 2012, 16:45 GMT)

I personally think Strauss didnt involve the KP incident in his decision, i greatly applaud his retirement as an indian fan, its best to retire now when ur form is not great, than when ppl start asking u to retire... nevertheless, a very good player, a great captain for eng!!! all the wishes to strauss and his family!!!

Posted by amitgarg78 on (August 29, 2012, 16:42 GMT)

@david hopps - good to see you respond to the comments. Don't see it that often on cricinfo. Let's hope responses to this article don't turn into another pointless KP debate. We've all done it to death already and will surely continue irrespective of the outcome of that issue. May lord brocket live in peace and happily ever after.

Posted by Red37 on (August 29, 2012, 16:11 GMT)

Great article and a superb come-back by David. When will the totally ignorant ever stop making snide comments on a topic on which they have absolutely no informatioon other than what their jingoistic attitude brings to the table. Oh, I forgot. They (like many of the students I taught in a long career) take pride in their "freedom of speech" to say nothing about everything merely to inflate their own pathetic ego and cover up their ignorance with even more pronounced pathetic "intellectualism" (a comment I placed on many undergraduate submissions.)

Posted by Percy_Fender on (August 29, 2012, 16:04 GMT)

Strauss is 34 and has led England to No1 in Tests,the 50 over format and the 20/20 version of the game under his captaincy. Even if had to hand over the Test No 1 to South Africa in his hundredth and final Test,his contribution to English cricket is immense.His dignity and calm under pressure is unmatched by any of the Captains of the recent past.When I think of the other Andrew I realise how much England would love to have him back for the fear that another Freddie is lurking around the corner.I get the feeling that he has stepped down because he has English cricket at heart.It is possible that he felt K P has more than him to offer English cricket considering that he is just over 30 and has a few good years ahead of him.His greatest moment has to be the annihilation of Australia in Australia in the Ashes of 2011.Having watched cricket for over 50 years, I can say that Andrew Strauss is what a captain should be like. Selfless and committed and a true leader of disparate individuals.

Posted by jackiethepen on (August 29, 2012, 15:57 GMT)

Agree with David Hopps. KP put himself in the picture. To ignore the impact of his attacks on Strauss, whether described as 'provocative' (KP) or 'derogatory' (ECB and media), is to whitewash a blatant act of disloyalty which upset Strauss. Of course it forced out Strauss - otherwise why not go with a guard of honour after his 100th Test? A fine article by Hopps, sensitive and fair-minded.

Posted by jackthelad on (August 29, 2012, 15:45 GMT)

David, a very good and sound analysis of Strauss; he would have been the last to claim himself a great batsman, but he was always sound and on his day could be a telling force; his captaincy skills were among the highest. But most of all, as you bring out so well, he was a decent, honourable guy and a gentleman (in an age that only seems to take notice of publicity-seekers and self-adulators). I wish him well for the future, and hope it will still be within the game he has contributed so much to.

Posted by 6pack on (August 29, 2012, 15:33 GMT)

It's sad to see such a fine cricketer and good man leave the game. I get the feeling he could have contributed much more to English cricket. However, at the same time, it'll be nice to see a new young leader in Alastair Cook, take the helm.

Posted by Highflyer_GP on (August 29, 2012, 15:23 GMT)

@Herbet: There was nothing classy about him refusing Smith a runner in the Champions Trophy. I guess Smith is the one having the last laugh now.

Posted by cricket-india on (August 29, 2012, 15:15 GMT)

mr hopps, if you really cared about acknowleding strauss for what he was (which i respectfully do), you wouldn't have broght up a rabid anti-kp rant into your retirement tribute. of corse kp isn't irrelevant, but if you so cared about what kp allegedly did to wreck england's sense of unity and purpose, where is your opinion of the ecb's transgressions that i mentoned in my feedback to your piece?

Posted by JG2704 on (August 29, 2012, 15:12 GMT)

@David Hopps on (August 29 2012, 14:45 PM GMT) I hope the KP thing was not part of the issue for Strauss resigning. I like to think that Strauss realised that as a player he was starting to show signs of deterioration and I know he is a proud man and would not want to be letting the side down with his own poor form. I said before the last test that I thought Strauss should step down regardless of the result , because if Eng had somehow won it would have been a perfect ending but I felt that Strauss took them as far as he could take them and for whatever reason I felt we were regressing this year under him this year. My fear is that Cook may be a Strauss/Flower clone but we'll see. Maybe he'll prove us wrong and inject some new life into the side A LA Clarke/Australia when he took over the side Ponting left him after losing the Ashes

Posted by   on (August 29, 2012, 15:08 GMT)

Better late than never, make Rob Key the test captain. From Shane Warne to Michael Vaughan, many have given the impression that Key is one of the best captains england never had.

Posted by   on (August 29, 2012, 14:45 GMT)

@ Many. The reason for bringing KP into this piece is simply because, like it or not, it is an issue involving Andrew Strauss at the time of his retirement, and an issue that the media is obsessed with, understandably. Links will be made between Andrew Strauss' retirement and the KP imbroglio, right or wrong. Just to ignore it as irrelevent doesn't really address whether or not it was a contributory factor. I don't think it was and have said so, so I don't think I can be accused of vilification by KP's angry army of admirers.But the fact is that KP did undermine a captain who supported him to opposing players at an inadvisable moment. Accepting that is the only way in which closure might be achieved.In the meantime, it;s a bit rich reading that I am obsessed with KP by feedbackers who then write about KP rather than the contribution made by one of England's finest ever captains.

Posted by   on (August 29, 2012, 14:38 GMT)

Strauss has picked exactly the right time to go. He has done a great job for England but the runs have dried up and didn't look like flowing again. Whilst the prospect of a new face at the top of the order is exciting, it does leave England's line up looking a little green with Taylor and Bairstow in there too. The exit of Strauss should not create an easy path back for KP. Before he returns, he has to understand that his prattish behaviour has no place in a team and that he needs England more than they need him. I'm really looking forward to seeing the new batting lineup developing over the next year or so.

Posted by bonobo on (August 29, 2012, 14:35 GMT)

cmon lets not waste the space. Strauss has not resigned because of KP or because of Englands poor run of form. Or at least i hope not. Over the last three years his average is around 30 in tests and most of his runs against the weaker teams. If it was not for that i am sure and hope he would carry on. I really hoped if the team had a good summer we could carry him through the next 18 months, its not as if there is a raft of test class batsmen in the wings, perhaos droping to play in the middle order. But with the team struggling, i guess he felt himsellf a burden. But lets focus on what he has given us for the last 8 years, a composed, brave and classy opener, who has scored important runs in big games and a settled and unifying force as captain and by all accounts a remaining a very decent man. Sky or BBC :-) ?

Posted by Herbet on (August 29, 2012, 14:28 GMT)

Even on the retirement of a classy player and man, the snipey comments about England have to come out. Its a bit sad.

Posted by GHemrajani on (August 29, 2012, 14:14 GMT)

Wrong timing. He should have retired before the SA series.

Posted by PiyushD on (August 29, 2012, 13:54 GMT)

very timely retirement by Strauss, as he could see England going downhill from here, with India series coming up we might well see Englnad drop down to where India is right now.

Posted by Adeel9 on (August 29, 2012, 13:51 GMT)

Good luck for the future. After being an underachieving country for decades you took England beyond it's capability. Thank you Sir

Posted by liz1558 on (August 29, 2012, 13:46 GMT)

This is all true. However, I'd like to see an England captain go out on a high for once - in the way that Taylor and Waugh did; or Lloyd and Richards. All of the England captains since Brearly have gone out with their team having been beaten at the end of an era. Captaining England is like lugging a great big sack around until you can carry it no more. Time for the next strong man to have a go.

Posted by Long-Leg on (August 29, 2012, 13:45 GMT)

Thank you David for a marvellous tribute. I am reminded of the song with the line, "you don't know what you've got till its gone". English cricket will miss Strauss dreadfully.

Posted by SurlyCynic on (August 29, 2012, 13:41 GMT)

Good article, without some of the hysterical anti-KP propaganda I've seen from other journalists today. He was a good captain, but his batting was no longer worth a place in the side and it's the right time to go. Hope to see him as head of the ECB one day, I'm sure he'll keep the helicopters off the pitch at Lords.

Posted by cricket-india on (August 29, 2012, 13:23 GMT)

come now, Mr Hopps...enough of targeting KP. Giles Clarke is no saint. It wasn't KP who leaked the discusions he had wth the ECB to the media. it wasn't KP who retired from tests to concentrate on T20s (incidentally, guys like Malinga who did are held in high esteem!!). it wasn't KP who had a fake twitter account maligning one and all. KP did not plan (albeit after a wrangle) to skip tests for the IPL (the NZ team that should be palying those tests will have half their players in the IPL!!). agree strauss is a gentleman and all that, but really, england need to manage talent better. u think SRT doesn't have an ego? for all its faults, the bcci did manage him well for 20 yrs, right? how abt taking a leaf out of CA, who managed warne so well despite his public diffeerences with his coach, not to mention his off-field antics and distractions?

Posted by Nutcutlet on (August 29, 2012, 13:22 GMT)

There are recently retired players whom almost everyone would hope to see continue to be involved in the governance & administration of the game. Andrew Strauss, like Rahul Dravid, is one such because his personal qualities, absolute integrity, good sense, decency and the universal respect he has earned in his playing career, especially during his tenure as captain of England's Test team, should continue to benefit the game he loves. If, as David Hopps intimates, that possibility makes those worthies currently pulling the strings 'feel a little uneasy', then I would hope that he is not shuffled to the margins by these suited gents & they back up their fine words today by ensuring that his special qualites are not lost to the game. He has much to give and we all know that it would be right & proper for him to be given a position of responsibility within the ECB: we know that he would bring all his qualities as a man to the tasks allotted to him and do the job very well indeed.

Posted by   on (August 29, 2012, 13:19 GMT)

One cannot even think of blaming Kevin Pietersen for the retirement of Strauss-sure there are those whose dislike of KP that will be subliminally advocating this, in one form or another- its was a gradual decline and bowlers had worked out how to bowl to him, he had become a passenger and even before the series-and the KP saga- he knew that this was his Waterloo.

One could 'blame' Graeme Smith, for 'retiring' 3 England captains, and achieving a hat trick, but Strauss was totally out of his depth in the UAE as well as against the Proteas, the time was right to bow out, but dont use this to belittle KP any more,if anything, now is the time to patch the dressing room rift and to move forward.

Posted by amitgarg78 on (August 29, 2012, 13:15 GMT)

David, you could've done better than this. There was little need for KP to figure in half of your article despite the circumstances involving KP. You did get one thing right and that was the fact that this is indeed the time for him to go. Not just as a batsman out of form, but as a skipper too. No management team shd survive mishandling it's best assets and letting "cliques" develop and prosper under their very noses and mistake that for unity and team spirit. I won't be critical of his handling once it blew up, but not sure if he did all he could've to prevent it. I will be criticized by fellow posters but I think flower too needs to go. It would be wrong for people to remember his tenure for the KP saga, becoz he was a wonderful player to watch, when in flow. His test records are good, but to me, his wonderful performance in that majestic hundred against India, in last world cup will probably remain in memory. He should retire a proud man, having done well for his team.

Posted by Highflyer_GP on (August 29, 2012, 13:12 GMT)

Disagree, the timing is completely wrong. Now he's given Smith the satisfaction of sinking 3 consecutive English captains!

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