Andrew Strauss yesterday described his decision to step down as England Test captain as being in the “best interest” of the national team.
Strauss confirmed his retirement from all forms of the game at a lunchtime press conference at Lord’s.
That's it: Andrew Strauss addresses a press conference at the Lord’s Cricket Ground in London yesterday. Pic/Getty Images
The 35-year-old’s decision brings down the curtain on a 100-Test career that peaked with an Ashes victory in Australia 18 months ago.
But since then Strauss’ form has dipped and after his side relinquished their place at the top of the Test rankings after the recent 2-0 series defeat against South Africa he believes the time was right to leave the game.
“After much thought over the last few weeks, I have decided to step down as England Test captain and announce my retirement from all forms of cricket,” he said.
“It has clearly been a tough decision to make but I believe that it is both in the best interests of the England cricket team and myself to step down at this stage.
“I am extremely proud of everything I have achieved as a cricketer, and I have found myself very fortunate to play in an era when some of English cricket’s greatest moments have occurred. I have loved every minute of it.”
Cook replaces Strauss
The England and Wales Cricket Board confirmed that Strauss would be replaced by Alastair Cook, who flanked his opening partner at yesterday’s press conference.
England won 24 of those 50 Tests under Strauss, making him the national team’s third most experienced leader and the second most successful behind Michael Vaughan.
The Middlesex batsman also led the side to home and away Ashes triumphs as well as their surge to world number one last summer, the first time England had held the position since the rankings were introduced.
That position was, however, lost following a summer of unrest highlighted by Kevin Pietersen’s axing from the England set-up.
He added: “It’s a very tough decision. For me the driver to it all quite frankly was my form with the bat. In truth I haven’t batted well enough for a long time now. It’s one of these decisions when you know when your time is up.
“I think for a captain to perform his role properly, it’s important you’re not a passenger in the side, but also that people aren’t speculating as to whether you should be in the side or not. I think that would have been too big a distraction to the side going forward.
“It’s a hugely sad moment in many ways.”
Manager Director of England Cricket, Hugh Morris, said that he would meet with Pietersen and team director Andy Flower in the coming weeks.
Flower has called on Pietersen to divulge the contents of the texts as the first major step towards welcoming him back into the squad.
“What we will be doing is myself and Andy Flower will meet with Kevin and we will be doing that in due course,” he said.
“We are where we are and we will be seeking those discussions and they will be behind closed doors,” he added.
1997: Makes Middlesex one-day debut.
2003: Makes one-day international debut.
2004: Scores 112 and 83 in Test debut against New Zealand at Lord’s.
2005: Scores two centuries during home Ashes series win over Australia
2006: Captains England in the absence of the injured Michael Vaughan and Andrew Flintoff.
2006: Overlooked as England captain for the Ashes tour of Australia in favour of Flintoff. Loses form, with just 247 runs in 10 innings, as England are thrashed 5-0.
2008: December — scores a hundred in each innings of first Test against India in Chennai.
2009: January — appointed as England captain for West Indies tour.
2009: July — scores 161 in second Test against Australia at Lord’s.
2009: August — scores two fifties in fifth Test at the The Oval as the Ashes are regained.
2010: November — scores important second innings hundred as England draw Ashes opener in Brisbane. Goes on to lead team to 3-1 series win.
2011: February — scores one-day international career-best 158 in tied World Cup game against India in Bangalore.
2011: March — retires from one-day internationals after World Cup campaign ends in quarter-final defeat by Sri Lanka.
2011: August — overseas series win over India that takes England to top of the world Test rankings.
2012: May — scores hundred in each of first two Tests against the West Indies as England win three-match series 2-0.
2012: July/August — scores just 107 runs at an average of 17.83 as England lose 2-0 at home to South Africa in a three-Test series, a reverse that also sees England dethroned as World No 1 by the Proteas.