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Andrew Strauss wasn't the best batsman to play 100 Tests, but he was one of the most successful England captains, and a pretty good ODI batsman too
August 29, 2012
(For more stats on Strauss the Test batsman, click here for the piece done just before his last Test.)
Andrew Strauss finished his career with exactly 100 Tests, but the ones in which he made the most impact were the 50 in which he captained. His overall average in the Tests in which he led was almost as much as those in which he didn't - 40.76 as captain, and 41.04 as non-captain.
As captain, though, he achieved some outstanding results, especially in home matches. Not surprisingly, most of the tributes had plenty to say about his leadership and man-management skills. Hugh Morris, England's managing director, said Strauss' time at the top would be cherished for his "remarkable leadership and direction". David Collier, the ECB chief executive, said Strauss will be remembered "for leading the side to two Ashes victories and to the top of the Test rankings. He has shown tremendous integrity, dedication and commitment both on and off the field and under his leadership the side has grown immeasurably. His legacy within the game will be felt for many years to come and we now need to continue to build on the progress we have made under his leadership."
Let's leave aside the intangibles and focus on the results. In 50 Tests that Strauss led, England won 24 and lost 11, which is a win-loss ratio of 2.18. Among captains who've led in at least 40 Tests, only six have a better ratio, including Michael Vaughan, whom Strauss replaced. In fact, the captaincy stats are remarkably similar for the two: Vaughan captained in one more Test, and won two more, for a marginally better win-loss ratio.
|Steve Waugh||57||41/ 9||4.55||71.92|
|Viv Richards||50||27/ 8||3.37||54.00|
|Ricky Ponting||77||48/ 16||3.00||62.33|
|Clive Lloyd||74||36/ 12||3.00||48.64|
|Hansie Cronje||53||27/ 11||2.45||50.94|
|Andrew Strauss||50#||24/ 11||2.18||48.00|
|Mark Taylor||50||26/ 13||2.00||52.00|
|Peter May||41||20/ 10||2.00||48.78|
|Imran Khan||48||14/ 8||1.75||29.16|
|Graeme Smith||94||44/ 26||1.69||46.80|
Among England captains, only Michael Atherton and Vaughan led the team in more Tests. Had Strauss led in India, he would have equalled Atherton's mark of 54 Tests as captain, the record for England. Atherton led 54 times, mostly in the 1990s, but it was a tough period for English cricket - with Australia, South Africa, Pakistan and even West Indies in pretty good shape, England struggled for victories during that period, winning only 13 against 21 defeats.
|Captain||Tests||W/ L||Draw||W/L ratio|
|Michael Atherton||54||13/ 21||20||0.61|
|Michael Vaughan||51||26/ 11||14||2.36|
|Nasser Hussain||45||17/ 15||13||1.13|
|Peter May||41||20/ 10||11||2.00|
The achievement that Strauss will perhaps be remembered for the most is the two series victories against Australia. In ten Tests against them under Strauss' leadership, England won five and lost two, which is the best win-loss ratio any England captain has had against Australia since Mike Brearley's 11-4 record in 18 Tests between 1977 and 1981. Since then, most England captains have lost more than they've won against Australia, with the only exceptions being Mike Gatting and Vaughan (2-1 records for both). David Gower had a 3-5 record, Graham Gooch was 0-5 down, Atherton 4-9, Nasser Hussain 2-6, and Andrew Flintoff a miserable 0-5 in five Tests.
Under Strauss, England had a winning ratio against all teams except South Africa, against whom he had a 1-3 record. The two previous long-term England captains struggled against South Africa too - Hussain had a 1-2 record, while Vaughan was 4-5. The captaincy terms for both of them also ended during or just after a home series against South Africa.
|Len Hutton||10||4/ 1||5||4.00|
|Mike Brearley||18||11/ 4||3||2.75|
|WG Grace||13||8/ 3||2||2.67|
|Andrew Strauss||10||5/ 2||3||2.50|
|Ray Illingworth||11||4/ 2||5||2.00|
Since Hussain took over captaincy in 1999, England have three captains who've led in more than 40 Tests. The table below compares their captaincy numbers both home and away. Strauss' stats at home stand out - he had a 19-4 win-loss record, which was 19-2 before South Africa came along this summer (and that makes their 2-0 series win even more impressive). However, Strauss' away results aren't so emphatic, with series defeats in the West Indies and the UAE against Pakistan, and draws in South Africa and Sri Lanka. The one top-notch result was in Australia.
England's overseas results were better under Vaughan, but then he didn't lead the team in Australia or in India, two countries which are among the most difficult for touring teams. He did achieve a series win in South Africa, though, and a 3-0 rout in the West Indies. Hussain's highlights were the series wins in Pakistan and Sri Lanka, feats that neither of the other two captains managed.
|Opponent||Hussain (H)-W/L||Away-W/L||Vaughan (H)-W/L||Away-W/L||Strauss (H)-W/L||Away-W/L|
|Australia||1/ 2||1/ 4||2/ 1||-||2/ 1||3/ 1|
|Bangladesh||-||-||2/ 0||2/ 0||2/ 0||-|
|India||1/ 1||0/ 1||0/ 1||-||4/ 0||-|
|New Zealand||1/ 2||1/ 1||4/ 0||2/ 1||-||-|
|Pakistan||1/ 0||1/ 0||-||0/ 1||6/ 1||0/ 3|
|South Africa||0/ 0||1/ 2||2/ 4||2/ 1||0/ 2||1/ 1|
|Sri Lanka||2/ 0||2/ 1||-||0/ 2||1/ 0||1/ 1|
|West Indies||2/ 1||-||7/ 0||3/ 0||4/ 0||0/ 1|
|Total||11/ 6||6/ 9||17/ 6||9/ 5||19/ 4||5/ 7|
Strauss in ODIs
Strauss' Test career was the more impressive, but he didn't do badly in ODIs either, especially when compared with other England batsmen. Only four England batsmen scored more ODI runs than he did, while his average (35.63) and strike rate (80.94) were pretty good too.
|Batsman||ODIs||Runs||Average||Strike rate||100s/ 50s|
|Paul Collingwood||197||5092||35.36||76.98||5/ 26|
|Alec Stewart||170||4677||31.60||68.36||4/ 28|
|Marcus Trescothick||123||4335||37.37||85.21||12/ 21|
|Graham Gooch||125||4290||36.98||61.88||8/ 23|
|Andrew Strauss||127||4205||35.63||80.94||6/ 27|
|Kevin Pietersen||125||4166||42.51||86.90||9/ 23|
|Allan Lamb||122||4010||39.31||75.54||4/ 26|
And if someone were to pop up this trivia question - 'Who's the only England batsman to make three 150-plus scores in ODIs' - the answer to that would be Strauss. In fact, only two other England batsmen - David Gower and Robin Smith - have ever made more than 150 in an ODI, and both have done it just once.
Strauss' sedate batting style would have made him an unlikely candidate to make so many 150-plus scores, but he has managed to convert 50% of his centuries into 150-plus scores. Two of those have been against Bangladesh, but his highest ODI innings came - quite fittingly - in a more memorable and high-profile match: against India in the 2011 World Cup, chasing a mammoth 339 for victory, Strauss scored a stunning 158 as England levelled India's total.
Strauss is in fact a member of a select band of six batsmen who've made three of more 150-plus scores. Only two batsmen - Sachin Tendulkar and Sanath Jayasuriya - have made more than three, while the others he's tied with are all legends of ODI cricket: Chris Gayle, Brian Lara and Viv Richards.
Strauss' highest ODI score came in a run-chase, and his overall numbers were much better too when batting second: he scored 2243 runs in chases at 40.78, and a strike rate of 84.35. Among England batsmen, only Marcus Trescothick has scored 2000-plus ODI runs at a higher average.
And while his Test stats didn't change much with captaincy, his ODI batting definitely improved after he became captain: he averaged 39.45 at a strike rate of 86.54 in the 62 matches in which he led; in 65 when he didn't his average dropped to 31.68, at a strike rate of 74.71. (Click here for Strauss' career summary in ODIs.) As captain, Strauss' ODI numbers are better than most England captains: he has scored more runs than anyone else, and at a much better average than Hussain, Vaughan, Atherton and Gooch, the next four in the aggregate list among England captains.
# 07:30 GMT, Aug 30: Changed from 49 to 50
S Rajesh is stats editor of ESPNcricinfo. Follow him on TwitterFeeds: S Rajesh
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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