Andrew Strauss yesterday claimed there was more to his game than being a "stodgy Test opener" but admitted that he was not ideally suited to Twenty20 cricket. The England Test and one-day captain was fielding questions about his surprise omission from his country's ICC World Twenty20 squad for the tournament which takes place in June. Strauss had been widely expected to be handed the captaincy, an impression that was reinforced by his rapid half century in the fourth one-day international against West Indies, which laid the foundations for England's series victory.
Yesterday Strauss explained: "I hope that my one-day innings, when I scored 79 off 61 balls, showed there is more to my game than being a stodgy test opener. That is why I feel very strongly that I can keep doing a job in 50-over cricket, but in Twenty20 cricket you need the power players, which is not necessarily a strength of mine.
"I think whoever captains any team should be worth their place in the side. I didn't feel I was necessarily in the strongest XI of Twenty20 players in the country, so it would be wrong for me to captain the side. I am very comfortable doing the two forms that I am doing, someone else can have an opportunity in the shorter form."
While Strauss said he did not expect to have any official input into the choice of Twenty20 captain, he did give one of the contenders a big mention. "All of those who have been captain have had issues doing the job, which kind of makes them more reluctant in the future, but that doesn't mean that they have definitely ruled themselves out. We'll have a look at the guys who have done it before, but there are others who could captain the side. Kent's Rob Key is definitely a candidate."
Strauss was upbeat about England's chances in the tournament. "I think the side has a good opportunity of doing well. The last time we had a global event on home soil [the 2004 ICC Champions Trophy] we got to the final, which shows the advantage of holding it on our own soil."
That was the reason that Strauss is also confident of an Ashes triumph this summer. "There is definitely scope for putting one over Australia. We back ourselves to beat most teams in our conditions, and a lot of the Australians have not had a huge amount of experience over here."
England could also do with the return of former captain Michael Vaughan, according to Strauss. "If Vaughany is scoring runs and playing well he could be a massive bonus for us to have in the side. He is a quality performer in test cricket. The experience he brings would have a massive effect on the side."
Pace bowler Daren Powell and all-rounder Ryan Hinds are the only notable absentees from the West Indies squad for the forthcoming tour of England. There are three newcomers, seamer Andrew Richardson, paceman Nelon Pascal and opener Dale Richards. Also named in the 17-man squad are batsman Narsingh Deonarine and all-rounder David Bernard, who have been out of the side for four and six years respectively. The first Test begins at Lord's on 6 May.