Is Strauss truly still captain of England?

Middlesex man in charge for Thursday's First Test with Bangladesh – but he walks back into a dressing room full of world champions

Until Andrew Strauss walks out at Lord's this week, he will not know. He may suspect he has a good idea, he will trust to his own leadership skills and to the indubitable esteem in which he is held by his players.

But he cannot be certain that he is still truly the captain of England. Since Strauss last did the job (defeat by an innings and 74 runs to South Africa, since you ask), England have played 14 international matches, won 11 and lost only two, both Twenty20, one of them in a reduced-over piece of silliness. Other men, first Alastair Cook and then Paul Collingwood, have led the team.

It is possible, just, that the team whose method he helped to craft have learned to do without him. Sport is like that, perpetually moving on. Strauss took a rest from the tour of Bangladesh in March because he had had a tiring year after taking over with disharmony all around following the deposal of Kevin Pietersen and the coach, Peter Moores.

Then he took no part in the glorious triumph that was the World Twenty20 because he has resigned from that form of the game, acknowledging that he cannot give the ball a sufficient clout. Now Bangladesh are here to start the English international summer, to be followed by Pakistan, with five one-day matches against Australia in between which lack any sort of context. Thereafter come the Ashes, which have context galore, and the World Cup.

"It was very, very important," said Strauss. "I feel refreshed and excited about coming back into the England team. Ultimately, it was done for long-term and not short-term reasons. It was done with the Ashes in mind because that six months of cricket is going to be really important for the England cricket team."

He did not take time out without long, detailed conversations with the coach, Andy Flower, and the selectors. It was agreed that although he was fresh enough to make the Bangladesh trip, the effects down the line could be damaging. A jaded man might have been going to Australia.

"You never know for certain how things are going to be until you see the players again," he said. "I can understand the argument that the captain should always be there to lead from the front. That was something we thought long and hard about before we made this decision but the principle for us was to give ourselves the best chance of winning in Australia and in the World Cup.

"What is the best way to do that? To have a fresh side led by a captain who is not tired and who is energetic and motivated and to give strong leadership. If that's the principle then we had to put up with the short-term downside – which was me not being in Bangladesh and, to a certain extent, me not captaining for a time, and that's fine, you can't have it both ways.

"You will get criticism but if I've learned one thing about this job it is that you have to do what you feel is right and not worry about what people say about it."

So to Bangladesh at home, the lowest-key of resumptions. There is a chance the tourists could lose in three days, even though the Lord's pitch will be flat, as they did in 2005 when they were bowled out for 108 and 159 and England scored 528 for 3 at five runs an over. Strauss and Ian Bell will be England's only survivors.

Bangladesh have not improved enough since then and if they are without their admirable captain, Shakib al Hasan, and their best batsman, Tamim Iqbal, with chicken pox and hand injury respectively, they will be in no state to play a Test match. That they detained England so long in March was down partially to a more patient approach, but mostly to pitches designed to drive bowlers to contemplate an easier life digging ditches.

England, whose squad of 12 will be named today, may decide to rest some players, while showing respect to brittle opponents. Stuart Broad and Paul Collingwood, who play in all forms, are two who would benefit from rest. So might Graeme Swann, who is far and away the best spinner now and is expected to perform in all forms.

There is the usual conundrum of whether to have six batsmen or five bowlers. The latter is the probable course. In which case, Collingwood may have to play unless they think of opening the way for the immensely gifted Eoin Morgan, who was so dramatically impressive in the shorter forms, or a maturing Andrew Gale, the captain of Yorkshire, who has had a wonderful start to the season. Either way, England should not be detained beyond Sunday.

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

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

Computerised cooking is coming

From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life
Football Beyond Borders: Even the most distruptive pupils score at homework club

Education: Football Beyond Borders

Add football to an after-school homework club, and even the naughtiest boys can score
10 best barbecue books

Fire up the barbie: 10 best barbecue books

We've got Bibles to get you grilling and smoking like a true south American pro
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power
Ron Dennis exclusive: ‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

Ron Dennis shrugs off a poor start to the season in an exclusive interview, and says the glory days will come back
Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most