Alastair Cook will have the confidence to build a new England side in his own image, says Andrew Strauss

The time has arrived at last for Alastair Cook to create an England side in his own image. He has been captain for 18 months but frequently it has seemed almost as if the real responsibility and power has lain elsewhere.

Starting on Tuesday at The Oval – after the brief excursion earlier this month to Scotland – Cook must finally forge ahead on his own, casting off the previous regime of Andrew Strauss, his predecessor as captain, and the departed coach Andy Flower. Strauss himself suggested on Monday that the Cook era can now properly begin.

“Alastair obviously inherited a team that myself and Andy Flower built and in some ways he was in Andy Flower’s shadow, I think,” Strauss said. “Look at the dynamics of the leadership team. Because Andy and I started at the same time we had very neutral, balanced relationship, whereas when Alastair took over the captaincy Flower had been there a long time and I think he was taking over a larger part of the workload or the leadership side of things.

“I think that dynamic has changed again and Cook has been in the job for a while now and Peter Moores is coming back. I think Cook will be standing a bit taller and be keen and hungry to take on a bit more. For me, captaincy is all about confidence, about backing your own judgement and being comfortable about making those big calls in the middle. Despite having lost in Australia, I think Alastair will have to be more confident this summer than he was previously.”

Cook’s new team will not properly take shape until next month when the Test series against Sri Lanka starts. The one-off Twenty20 international at The Oval today, followed by five one-day internationals beginning at the same venue on Thursday, will of necessity see a cast of familiar faces. But from the off, Cook’s style and approach will be instructive.

Neither he nor Moores, who has returned to the job of coach for his second spell, will be granted much leeway. If Cook has to discover a fresh assertiveness, Moores has to learn from the mistakes he made last time and they need to win almost immediately.

“There is a far smaller honeymoon period this time round,” said Strauss. “Moores will be judged pretty much straight away on his performances. The only thing to say contrary to that is he has done it before, he knows what he is getting himself into and knows what he did well and what he did less well first time round.

“He’s in a better place to do the job well this time but English cricket is in that kind of transitional phase which is pretty much where it was when he took over last time [2007]. We had lost the Ashes heavily and been poor in the World Cup and he came in with some new players. There were definitely some teething problems, I don’t think he can afford them this time.”

Strauss, perhaps more than anyone else, sees this as a break from his tenancy as captain when England, briefly, became the top-ranked Test and one-day team. The difference is enshrined by the sacking of Kevin Pietersen, which marks a definitive line.

“When Andrew Flintoff retired everyone said, ‘How can you possibly replace a player of that quality?’ We went on to have an exceptionally successful period on the back of that,” said Strauss. “No one is irreplaceable, let’s put it that way. That’s a given. Obviously, there were some issues in the dressing room while Kevin was in the side, not all of his own making.

“It was a big decision which I think was done for the right reasons. Alastair Cook and the England hierarchy decided it was time for a fresh start and they couldn’t have a fresh start with Pietersen in the ranks. But like all these things the decision will be proved right or wrong by England’s performances on the pitch. If they start losing the issue is going to come back and haunt them again. It’s going to be fascinating to watch the evolution of the England team before our very eyes.”

Andrew Strauss is supporting AEG’s scheme for grass-roots cricket. Clubs can win sets of kit, a washing machine and coaching sessions by submitting an application at facebook.com/AEG

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent