Andrew John Strauss
March 02, 1977, Johannesburg, Transvaal, South Africa
Also Known As
Sir Andrew Strauss
Straussy, Levi, Mareman, Muppet
Left hand Bat
Left arm Medium
Radley College, Durham University
Upstanding, self-effacing and privately educated, Andrew Strauss was the archetypical England captain, and one of their most successful ones. His understated authority underpinned England's rise to the top of the world rankings - for the first time in 31 years, according to back-dated calculations - in a journey that included a home Ashes win in 2009, an even sweeter victory in Australia for the first time since 1986-87, and a 4-0 whitewash to usurp No. 1-ranked India in 2011.
A compact left-handed opener, Strauss was severe on the cut shot, efficient off his pads and workmanlike everywhere else. Though most comfortable with pace on the ball, Strauss made two centuries against an Australian attack that included Shane Warne in 2005 and tenacious back-to-back hundreds against India in Chennai in 2008.
His early county cricket with Middlesex did not exactly suggest a star in the making, but a century in 2003 against Lancashire, with Andrew Flintoff haring in, set the selectors sniffing - and also made Strauss believe he had what it took. After a few one-day caps that winter, Strauss was called up for the first Test against New Zealand in 2004 after Michael Vaughan twisted his knee in the Lord's nets. Strauss responded with a confident century, and was on his way to another in the second innings when Nasser Hussain ran him out 17 short. But Hussain had seen enough: with Vaughan set to return, he announced his immediate retirement and Strauss's England career was set.
Strauss flirted with England captaincy in 2006 - dubbing himself "the stand-in for the stand-in" in the absence of the injured Vaughan and Flintoff - and led England to victory at home against Pakistan. Universally admired by his team-mates, it now seems bizarre that a natural leader would ever be overlooked for the captaincy but that's exactly what happened for Ashes the following winter. Flintoff was chosen instead as England flunked to 5-0 loss. It was the first disappointment in Strauss's Test career and instigated a slump in form that saw him go 15 matches without a Test hundred. With his England spot looking desperately insecure he produced a eight-hour 177, his highest Test score, to seal a series win in Napier and salvage his career.
His form flooded back and when Kevin Pietersen - Vaughan's successor as captain - and coach Peter Moores fell out spectacularly, England turned to the steadiest pair of hands. He forged a partnership with new team director Andy Flower in 2009 and the 'Andocracy' has since reached almost hallowed status.
During the early part of his England career hundreds came apace - with 10 in his first 30 games - but captaincy, as it so often does, dented his form. Despite centuries in the 2009 and 2010-11 Ashes, Strauss struggled elsewhere and when England lost four consecutive Tests in the 2011-12 winter, murmurings began about his future. But Strauss stayed true to himself - affable, calm and respectful - and began the 2012 season with two hundreds against West Indies to put him within touching distance of the most by an England batsman. However, soon after that, Strauss had a terrible both on and off the field against South Africa - England lost the series 2-0 and with it the number one ranking, Strauss scored 107 runs in six innings, and the Pietersen controversy went from bad to worse. A week after the end of that Test series, Strauss announced his retirement from all international cricket, having played 100 Tests, and having led England to victory in 24 out of 50 Tests in charge.
He was appointed as the ECB's director of cricket in early 2015 and, almost immediately, sacked Peter Moores at coach of the England men's side after a wretched performance at the World Cup. Strauss subsequently prioritised the shorter formats and appointed Australian Trevor Bayliss to the role of coach with the mandate to improve England's limited-overs fortunes. It was a decision vindicated when England won the 2019 World Cup.
By then personal tragedy had forced Strauss to step down. His wife, Ruth, contracted a rare form of lung cancer and died aged just 46 in late 2018. Strauss took time away from the game, initially to care for her and then to raise the couple's two young sons. A charity, the Ruth Strauss Foundation, was set up in her honour. The second day of the Lord's Test became the centre point of the fundraising campaign with a memorable debut in 2019.
Reflecting the widespread respect - affection, even - in which he was held, Strauss was knighted in Prime Minister Theresa May's resignation honours in September 2019. In the same month, he made a welcome return to the game as chair of the ECB's cricket committee.
Batting & Fielding