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Andrew Strauss retires

Terrific captain, decent ODI batsman

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

S Rajesh

August 29, 2012

Comments: 11 | Text size: A | A

Andrew Strauss drives through the covers during England's innings, England v West Indies, World Cup, Group B, March 17, 2011
Andrew Strauss made three 150-plus scores in ODIs; only Sachin Tendulkar and Sanath Jayasuriya have more © Getty Images
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(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.

Captains with best win-loss ratios (Qual: 40 Tests)
Captain Tests W/L Ratio Win %
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
Michael Vaughan 51 26/11 2.36 50.98
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.

England captains who led the team in the most Tests
Captain Tests W/ L Draw W/L ratio
Michael Atherton 54 13/ 21 20 0.61
Michael Vaughan 51 26/ 11 14 2.36
Andrew Strauss 50 24/11 15 2.18
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.

England captains with highest success rate in Tests against Australia (Qual: 10 Tests)
Captain Tests W/ L Draw Ratio
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.

Comparing the captaincy records of Hussain, Vaughan and Strauss
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
Zimbabwe 3/ 0 - - - - -
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.

Highest run-scorers in ODIs for England
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 Twitter

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Posted by Plz_Dont_Get_Whitewashed on (August 31, 2012, 18:32 GMT)

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

Posted by sysubrceq0 on (August 30, 2012, 18:00 GMT)

@ Siddharth Sikka - Strauss may be great captain for his Country but a pathetic average of 41 in tests doesn't make him great and he didn't hang his boots in his prime. Check his stats from last 2 or 3 years averaging around 30. What SundarSP tells is the truth, same thing happenned with Buchanan when all the greats are retiring he didn't extend his contract with Australia to coach the country. he knows the truth that Australia cannot be formidable side without those greats. But all still hail he is best coach based on his stats.

Posted by Hammond on (August 30, 2012, 13:41 GMT)

To be up there with Vaughan and Illingworth? Strauss would take that. Great captain, far better than his contemporaries. (Ponting couldn't captain his way out of a paper bag, he just relied on the people with actual brains in the side like Gilchrist and Warne)

Posted by CricketMaan on (August 30, 2012, 13:00 GMT)

Anyone who thinks India will steamroll Eng 4-0 in India should stop dreaming. I still think India migh edge England to win 2-1 or 2-0 but i wont be surprised with a 1-1 either. I too like billions would love a 4-0, but India's bowling still lacks a killer instinct. The only hope for is Swann neither regains his fitness or form and Finn does not get better and better. Lastly India is expected to win the next 9 tests at home, i doubt any mordern era test team today has that ability no matter what the records suggest. India is expected to win all 3 home series, but to expect a 10-0 is just insane

Posted by Vikas_Vadgama on (August 30, 2012, 12:56 GMT)

Some years back, South Africa beat England in their own den. It took the head of Michael Vaughan. Now history has repeated. The head is of Andrew Strauss'. As they say, history repeats itself.

Posted by   on (August 30, 2012, 9:59 GMT)

@SundarSP in your over zealousness to be an Indian fan, its people like you who give the true cricket fans of this country a bad name. If you really liked cricket you wouldn't make a statement like that. Andrew Strauss was a great captain and a great ambassador for his country. Its is time to applaud him for hanging up his boots while still in his prime

Posted by   on (August 30, 2012, 7:46 GMT)

It's good to change captains, and with Strauss, the time is right to swap.Cook will be the next test captain.

Posted by SundarSP on (August 30, 2012, 7:07 GMT)

Good decision before the tour to India. England might get a beating in India with low confidence after SA series. He has saved his face.... would have been better if he had the courage of Dhoni, who was ready to lead in Aus even after whitewash in Eng last year...

Posted by tntn on (August 30, 2012, 1:01 GMT)

How many did Strauss actually captain? This article says 49 while another on his retirement says 50.. Not that it makes any difference to the essence of the articles. Just for our trivia base to be good.

Posted by   on (August 30, 2012, 0:53 GMT)

we'll miss strauss, england wont be the same without him, the world wont be the same without the same england, hence the world would be a lesser place with this man gone, i saw his ton vs windies at providence, it was wonderful but his 129 vs mcgrath, lee, warne was his greatest innings and that 150 in the world cup was special too

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S Rajesh Stats editor Every week the Numbers Game takes a look at the story behind the stats, with an original slant on facts and figures. The column is edited by S Rajesh, ESPNcricinfo's stats editor in Bangalore. He did an MBA in marketing, and then worked for a year in advertising, before deciding to chuck it in favour of a job which would combine the pleasures of watching cricket and writing about it. The intense office cricket matches were an added bonus.

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