Andrew Strauss: 'All I want is England to do well'

He says separate captains are not a problem as he looks to build on Cook's momentum for tour of Sri Lanka

Colombo

Nothing confuses the issue quite like an England cricket captain. That was Andrew Strauss down by the pool at the team's Colombo hotel yesterday, back in charge and sounding it.

He has returned to assume full control for the tour of Sri Lanka, which starts properly today with the first of two practice matches before a Test series also of two matches. By cricket standards it is whistle-stop stuff. The tourists will be home at Easter.

Strauss's last period in charge ended in a 3-0 drubbing by Pakistan in the Test series in the UAE last month. After that, England prevailed in both limited-overs series, first under Alastair Cook and then under Stuart Broad, respectively the one-day international and Twenty20 leaders. People begin to talk – though not, apparently in the team, where the feasibility of Strauss being undermined by the short-form minor success is treated as risible poppycock.

"It's a great thing, surely," said Strauss. "Honestly I don't understand the mind-set at all. It's not something that's bothered me. All I want is for the England team to do well. The reason we have separate captains is to allow us to each concentrate on one form of the game and really add some energy and motivation to that form. So far it's worked really well and I'm delighted for Cooky. It's fantastic. He's had a tough introduction to the one-day captaincy and it's great to see his batting and captaincy develop so well."

Actually, the reason England have three captains is because Strauss withdrew from both limited-overs versions of the game, first Twenty20 and then ODIs. Since Cook was seen almost as a like-for-like replacement in 50-over cricket but was deemed unsuitable for T20 necessity, as so often, was the mother of this particular invention.

If it is less of a hotch-potch so far than Heath Robinson might have concocted, there remains scope for all manner of cock-ups. The first priority is for Strauss to regain authentic Test form.

In taking England to No 1 in the world for the first time since rankings were introduced he has amassed lavish credit and is entitled to a bonus, in his case of unquestioned selection, rather more than the average bank executive. But he needs big runs, starting in this series. He has one hundred in 46 Test innings, in which span his average is only 33.

"I need and want to take the momentum Alastair has gained for us to help us move forward in the Test team," said Strauss. "We're all in this together. There are no egos at play here and I don't think people are out to undermine each other. We're all focused on the same thing which is England winning as many games as possible."

It has often been pointed out that the English cricket team is merely a reflection of the country as a whole so it was difficult to know whether to be reassured or not that everybody is in it together.

England will presumably play their probable team for the first Test in the first match against a Sri Lanka Board XI. The No 6 batting spot seems to be between Ravi Bopara, who has waited for his chance, and Samit Patel, who could only play as the second spinner in a five-man attack.

There is an element of controversy surrounding the tour, not all to do with cricket and the parlous state of Sri Lanka's finances. A Channel 4 documentary, Sri Lanka's Killing Fields: War Crimes Unpunished was aired last night and it has already caused consternation in the Indian parliament.

A sequel to an original film that was shown last year, the documentary asks why there has been as yet no action over alleged atrocities committed by government soldiers in the last days of the civil war, against the Tamil population. The film is as shocking and disturbing as any footage from recent wars and it is no accident that Channel 4 screened it to coincide with England's arrival.

To his credit, Strauss did not duck the question.

"It's a bit of a tricky one," he said. "All round us, we see atrocities taking place all over the world and in war a lot of unsavoury things happen on both sides. I personally think the political issues are best dealt with by the politicians and administrators.

"But that doesn't mean we should stick our heads in the sand. If the government feel there is cases to answer to a great enough extent that the England team shouldn't be touring somewhere then that is a call they need to make. Until that is the case, it would be wrong for us to focus on anything other than the cricket."

With respect, neither of the other captains could have dealt with such sense and sensibility. Strauss, of course, must stay.

Tour details

* Today-Saturday Board XI
R Premadasa Stadium (Colombo)

 

* 20-22 March Development Squad
Sinhalese Sports Ground (Colombo)

 

* 26-30 March 1st Test v Sri Lanka
Galle International Stadium (Galle)

 

* 3-7 April 2nd Test v Sri Lanka
P Sara Oval (Colombo)

 

* 18 April England depart Colombo

 

England probable team (for warm-up match v Board XI) A J Strauss, A N Cook, J Trott, K Pietersen, I R Bell, S R Patel, M J Prior, S C J Broad, G P Swann, S T Finn, J M Anderson.

News
A 1930 image of the Karl Albrecht Spiritousen and Lebensmittel shop, Essen. The shop was opened by Karl and Theo Albrecht’s mother; the brothers later founded Aldi
people
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmA cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Arts and Entertainment
Flora Spencer-Longhurst as Lavinia, William Houston as Titus Andronicus and Dyfan Dwyfor as Lucius
theatreThe Shakespeare play that proved too much for more than 100 people
News
exclusivePunk icon Viv Albertine on Sid Vicious, complacent white men, and why free love led to rape
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Stir crazy: Noel Fielding in 'Luxury Comedy 2: Tales from Painted Hawaii'
comedyAs ‘Luxury Comedy’ returns, Noel Fielding on why mainstream success scares him and what the future holds for 'The Boosh'
Life and Style
Flow chart: Karl Landsteiner discovered blood types in 1900, yet scientists have still not come up with an explanation for their existence
lifeAll of us have one. Yet even now, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Arts and Entertainment
'Weird Al' Yankovic, or Alfred Matthew, at the 2014 Los Angeles Film Festival Screening of
musicHis latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do our experts think he’s missed out?
Sport
New Real Madrid signing James Rodríguez with club president Florentino Perez
sportColombian World Cup star completes £63m move to Spain
Travel
Hotel Tour d’Auvergne in Paris launches pay-what-you-want
travelIt seems fraught with financial risk, but the policy has its benefits
Arts and Entertainment
booksThe best children's books for this summer
Life and Style
News to me: family events were recorded in the personal columns
techFamily events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped that
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn