England selectors back 'aggressive' Strauss to return as one-day captain

Rampant speculation that Andrew Strauss would be ditched as England's one-day captain was kicked into the long grass yesterday. This is undoubtedly the best place for it but the seal of approval bestowed on him came hardly a moment too soon.

For weeks, fuelled largely by England's grand triumph in the World Twenty20 in which he played no part, it had been suggested that Strauss's career in the 50-over format could also be over. His recent form in one-day internationals has been patchy and an ill-informed school of thought had been formed to propose that England might be better off without him.

If the selectors had not been entirely silent on the issue they had not been definitive either. Only yesterday did the chairman, Geoff Miller, let slip that Strauss would lead England in the first set of the summer's one-day matches, which start next week.

Even then he did not give a ringing endorsement. Instead, in a statement which detailed the participation of England players for their counties in the domestic Twenty20 competition, he ruled out Strauss by saying: "We believe the best preparation for Andrew Strauss's build-up to the NatWest series does not involve the Friend's Provident t20 fixtures and as such he won't be available for these matches during this period."

That seemed to confirm that his place as captain is certain when the squad for a match against Scotland and a series of five against Australia is named on Thursday. Strauss has not passed 50 in his last 10 one-day innings, and while that is some cause for concern it fails to take account of his importance as leader and strategist. He should lead England in the World Cup next year.

Together with the coach, Andy Flower, and to a lesser extent the T20 captain, Paul Collingwood, Strauss has been instrumental in orchestrating England's changed approach in limited-overs cricket. They have been much more trenchant with bat, ball and in the field. Robustness, fearlessness and athleticism have all combined in recent months to make them much more effective. Flower recognises as much and so should others.

"He is a fine leader and a fine batsman," he said. "I think in the last 12 months he has done some really good things for us in one-day cricket. He bats aggressively up front. His specialist area is facing the quick bowling. He has been the architect of the attacking type of cricket England's one-day side has been playing. In a way, he was the catalyst for the attacking cricket we have been able to play in Twenty20 as well." So there.

The shambles of the one-day series against Australia last summer, when England lost 6-1, was followed by an unheralded advance to the Champions Trophy semi-final, a narrow but significant one-day series win in South Africa and their wholly unexpected elevation to Twenty20 world champions in the Caribbean last month.

Although Strauss voluntarily withdrew from the T20 squad because he felt he did not have the firepower necessary, he rightly sees the 50-over format as demanding slightly different skills. He has come out slugging himself recently and remains the sort of batsman who others can play around at the top of the order.

Had he been discarded it would have left England with one captain, Collingwood, in two forms of the game with Strauss left only as Test captain. This would have affected the dressing room dynamic to an unreasonable degree. Strauss would forever have been flitting in and out, never sure that he was either in charge or wanted.

It would also have conveniently overlooked his important role in England's rehabilitation. When he took over as captain in January last year the dressing room was in shock after the departures of the coach Peter Moores and Strauss's predecessor as captain, Kevin Pietersen.

Strauss had been out of one-day cricket for a year but it was immediately recognised that his calm, mature influence was needed. So it turned out, and while Collingwood was impressive in leading the team to Twenty20 glory, he has no aspirations to leadership and nor is he a natural leader.

England also revealed yesterday their player availability for imminent T20 county fixtures for the next week. Fast bowling tyro Steve Finn has been withdrawn from all matches as have Strauss and Graeme Swann. Most of the rest will be available for some matches.

Flower's empathy was obvious. "I feel for the counties when we make these decisions on players and pull them out of county games," he said. "The directors of cricket and coaches and captains are under their own pressure with results. When you pull their best players out of competitive matches it is quite a hit for them. I realise it requires a lot of understanding from them, and we very much appreciate it." But there is always a greater good, whether it be who plays when, or Strauss being made secure in his role.

PROMOTED VIDEO
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?
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas