Andrew Strauss quits all forms of cricket
Alastair Cook is set to lead England in next year’s Ashes series after Andrew Strauss’s dramatic retirement in the wake of the Kevin Pietersen texting scandal.
Strauss, who led England to back-to-back Ashes victories for the first time in a generation, said it was form rather than the Pietersen controversy that made him decide to quit the game.
Pietersen was dropped after sending damaging text messages to his South African counterparts during the second match of the recently-completed three Test series, calling Strauss an offensive term and telling them how to bowl to the England captain.
Strauss led the national team for three years and a half years, with England enjoying a 12-month stay as the world No.1 Test side during his reign.
His departure breaks up one of England’s finest opening pairings with Cook and he becomes the third captain in a decade to quit following a series defeat to South Africa.
However his form has deserted him this year with his lean returns in South Africa’s 2-0 Test series win tipping him over the edge.
“As a captain, I think it is important that you are not a passenger in the team,” he said.
“I would have hated to outstay my welcome.”
Strauss, 35, had previously said he was keen to lead England in the back-to-back Ashes series next year.
However he revealed he had been thinking about exiting the game for “six to 12 months” and that Pietersen’s betrayal had not been a contributing factor.
“No, not in any way,” he said.
Despite his comments, it will be interesting to see in the coming months whether Strauss’s exit allows Pietersen to brought back in from the cold.
Strauss and England coach Andy Flower have prided themselves on building a strong team culture since coming together at the beginning of 2009.
One thing is certain, it would have been very difficult for a principled man such as Strauss to allow the attention-seeking Pietersen to return to his team.
Strauss made 7037 runs at 40.91 in 100 Tests with an impressive captaincy record of 24 wins, 11 losses and 15 draws in 50 matches.
Strauss believed Cook would re-energise the team while the latter paid tribute to his former batting partner.
“I have huge boots to fill,” said Cook, who is the middle of leading England in their one-day series against South Africa.
South Africa have shown cracks in England’s Test lineup in the past month with the home side being comprehensively outplayed by Graeme Smith’s men.
The pity for Australia is that England have so much time to regroup from their testing northern summer before the first Ashes Test starts on July 10 at Trent Bridge.© AAP 2013