On the Front Foot: Strauss is needed as an administrator not a broadcaster
Where have all the captains gone? Gone to be pundits every one. Long time passing. What the England captain does after he has left the job, is always what fascinates after the plaudits have been paid.
So it is with Andrew Strauss, who will be remembered as one of the most accomplished of all 79 men who have led England in a Test match, from Gubby Allen to Norman Yardley in alphabetical order and James Lillywhite to Alastair Cook in chronological sequence.
Suggestions that Strauss will stand as the Conservative candidate in the imminent Corby by-election can be taken as fanciful. True, he donated a golf day at a party fundraiser last year, but that was hardly an application to take to the hustings.
Over the years it has become almost de rigueur to take up a role in the media. Of the 24 men officially appointed as captain since Len Hutton retired, 11 have become cricket writers or broadcasters. Eight still grace our airwaves regularly.
Few have found other roles in the game, though Ted Dexter and Ray Illingworth were pundits and then became chairman of selectors. Colin Cowdrey became an ICC bigwig, Graham Gooch is the England batting coach, Mike Gatting works for the ECB, Mike Brearley became a psychotherapist and is still, though he now also chairs MCC's world cricket committee.
The lure of the microphone is obvious, but international cricket also needs former international cricketers at its hub. Less glamorous (and financially rewarding) though it may be, the future of the game depends partly on insiders' expertise and insight. With his booming, articulate voice Strauss could easily find a place in a commentary box. But he has strong opinions about how the great game should be run. When the dust has settled, it would be wonderful to see him help lead there as he led the England team.
Pakistan in spin over Ajmal omission
There has been a kerfuffle about the nominations for the Test cricketer of the year. Pakistan are miffed that Saeed Ajmal has not made the shortlist of three, after taking 72 wickets in the qualifying period at 24.29 each, and are threatening to boycott the awards. They smell corruption. The ICC point out that the procedure for making the awards is strictly audited after a shortlist is voted on by "an academy of 32 highly credentialed cricket personalities from around the world".
As one of the panel, it is easy to confirm that nobody tried to influence my vote. As it happens, the nominations from this direction contained Ajmal's name, along with those of Michael Clark and Kumar Sangakkara, who made the shortlist. Ajmal lost out to Vernon Philander, who had an amazing start to his career. It is a matter of judgement and OTFF disagrees with his fellow panellists.
A few choice words
Talking of shortlists, nominations are out for the Cricket Writers' Club book of the year. It is an eclectic mix, featuring a history of Australia, a highly personal memoir about being a cricketer's father, the intriguing story of England's rise and corking biographies of Tony Greig and Fred Trueman. They show that, while all book sales are plummeting, cricketing literature remains of high quality.
Amla drops into top spot
Hashim Amla is unquestionably the cricketer of the summer. But how thin is the line between success and failure. Before yesterday he had scored 817 international runs at an average of 116.71. England dropped him six times at a cost of 539 runs – so it could have been 278 at 39.71.
peopleContenders for Time magazine's Person of the Year are a mixture of the good, the bad and the holy
newsAs the world remembers Mandela the hero, the prison where he spent 27 years seems all the more brutal
tvSteven Moffat reveals the actor was dying to take on the role of the Time Lord and says he is excited to see what he will do with the character
sportBayern Munich 2 Manchester City 3: City come from two down to beat reigning European Champions
arts + ents... and a chance to paint Booker Prize winning author Hilary Mantel
danceUnder Tamara Rojo's inspired direction, it seems possible that it could challenge the dominance of the Royal Ballet. We meet some established names and rising stars
travelDiscover Uruguay's jet-set beach resort, an Atlantic enclave with plenty of art and culture to explore on the side
Transfer news round-up: Barcelona to offer £37m for Manchester United striker Robin van Persie; Manuel Neuer interests Manchester City; Luiz Gustavo on Tottenham radar
Roy Keane omits Paul Scholes, Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs from 'greatest' Manchester United team
Gareth Bale puts five-bedroom Essex mansion up for sale at £2.2m following £86m switch from Tottenham to Real Madrid
Former England captain Mick Mills 'turned a blind eye' to initiation ceremony abuse at Stoke City, which included sexual assault dubbed 'The Glove'
Manchester United player ratings: The best (and worst) performers for David Moyes during the season so far
- 1 Mountain goats' miraculous escape from avalanche captured in dramatic video footage
- 2 It’s shameful that our universities have accepted gender segregation under pressure from the most oppressive religious fanatics
- 3 Sir Ian McKellen hits back at Damian Lewis' 'fruity actor' claims
- 4 Kenyan politician Mike Sonko left red-faced after photoshopping himself next to Nelson Mandela
- 5 Selfie at funeral: Cameron squeezes in on Obama snap at Mandela memorial