Alarm bells ring for Strauss on worst day at office

There are times when captaining the England cricket team must be like joy on earth for Andrew Strauss. And then there was Friday 7 August, when just about the only thing that went right for him until well after tea was not getting lost while driving to Headingley. Although come to think of it...

Apart from being forced from hotel bed to pavement by a false fire alarm shortly before 5am, worrying whether his wicketkeeper would clamber off the treatment table after a warm-up induced back spasm, fretting over who should replace irreplaceable all-rounder Andrew Flintoff, failing to see off the new ball on winning the toss, watching his team being rolled over for 102 and then searching long and hard for a bowling hero, yesterday was plain sailing for Strauss. "Tough day at the office, dear?" "I've had better, Mrs S."

Look out on to any ground an hour or so before start of play on the first morning of a Test match and you will do well to spot an unpopulated square yard of grass, Players from both sides are present, of course, going through their warm-up routines and, at least in England's case, they are joined by a whole squad of back-up staff. Throw in the groundsman and his team, match officials, sponsors' representatives and umpteen former cricketers turned TV and radio commentators and there are almost as many folk on centre stage as in the stands.

Yet, when it really matters and something nasty hits the fan, the captain is pretty much a man alone. And yesterday, despite coach Andy Flower giving all the help he could, England's leader had too much on his plate.

With real doubts over whether Matt Prior would be able to play, Australia were asked to delay the toss by 10 minutes. They agreed, giving Strauss and Flower time to decide on an alternative keeper before being told there was no need to scrap Plan A after all.

But that still left Strauss with less than 20 minutes to prepare himself to open the batting – during which time he had to give three interviews to television and radio stations straight after the toss. "There has been a bit of running around," he told Sky TV with the hint of a rueful smile on his face.

No one said being captain of England would be a bed of roses, of course. But there were a few too many thorns for most people's comfort yesterday and if Strauss's mind was scrambled when he faced his first ball from Ben Hilfenhaus then little wonder.

Thanks to umpire Billy Bowden giving him the benefit of what small amount of doubt existed, Strauss survived Hilfenhaus's leg before appeal. He was out soon enough, though, and then had plenty of time to wonder whether he might have inadvertently walked under a ladder last night.

Still, at least the captain's cheap dismissal and England's uninspiring batting effort kept home supporters quieter than any restriction on booze or words of warning from officialdom. Some will be pleased about that, no doubt – though probably not Strauss.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
people
Life and Style
President Obama, one of the more enthusiastic users of the fist bump
science
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Griffin holds forth in The Simpsons Family Guy crossover episode
tv
Life and Style
Upright, everything’s all right (to a point): remaining on one’s feet has its health benefits – though in moderation
HealthIf sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
News
Kristen Stewart and Rupert Sanders were pictured embracing in 2012
people
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried