Strauss rested for Bangladesh tour

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The Independent Online

Geoff Miller has defended the England selectors' decision to rest captain Andrew Strauss from the forthcoming tour of the United Arab Emirates and Bangladesh and dismissed suggestions the move is disrespectful to their opponents.

As expected, the selectors opted to rest England captain Strauss, with vice-captain Alastair Cook promoted to skipper for the two-Test and three one-day international tour to Bangladesh.

Paul Collingwood will captain the side in the two Twenty20 internationals in Dubai which begin the tour.

Miller insists resting Strauss was necessary to allow him to return refreshed and to expose Cook to international leadership.

"There's an awful lot of cricket coming up in the next 12 to 18 months," Miller told Sky Sports News.

"He's had an arduous time as captain of an international side.

"It's not just a matter of the matches we're playing at the moment, there's the future to think about.

"We have to try and find a captain for future reference as well, so Alastair will take over the captaincy and Andrew will have a break and get ready for a very arduous 12 to 18 months.

"We want to keep this side together as much as possible, but the captaincy of that side is a mental battle and we want the captain to come back refreshed ready for the summer ahead."

Asked whether it was disrespectful to Bangladesh, Miller said the decision was purely down to the fixture calendar.

"This is an opportunity," he added.

"It's just how the fixtures and itinerary has worked out.

"Andrew has worked really hard prior to this and we feel he needs a break from it and will come back refreshed."

Miller has no doubt Cook has the credentials to lead England.

"He's played over 50 Test matches now and it's not just a matter of thinking about the present time or the immediate future, there's the far future as well," the national selector added.

"He was given the vice-captaincy, so we want to see how he performs with the thoughts of captaincy.

"It'll be a difficult task, obviously - it always is to captain your country - and he's got to work on his batting too, but we think he's capable of doing that and he will get the opportunity to do so."

James Anderson has also been rested from the tour in order to undergo a specialist review and a programme of rehabilitation for his chronic right knee injury.

There had been suggestions more players might be rested, but Miller believes it is important to keep the squad together following their 1-1 Test series draw in South Africa.

"We want to try to keep this unit together as much as possible," said Miller.

"One or two of the batters didn't perform as they'd like to have performed in South Africa.

"But there are lots of other reasons."