Amol Rajan: Strauss's lesson: lead from front and mind the KPs

FreeView from the editors at i

Share
Related Topics

When do you resign from the job of your dreams? When the job of your dreams turns into a nightmare.

Andrew Strauss's surprise resignation from the captaincy of English cricket has been attributed by some observers to the saga over Kevin Pietersen, whose derogatory text messages to South African players entered the public arena. No doubt they played a part, and the neat symmetry here – Strauss was appointed captain after another KP episode, this time with former coach Peter Moores – won't have been lost on England's dressing room. The main problem with KP has never been his ego; rather it's that the man with the talent to be England's greatest batsman ever happens to be a South African.

But with characteristic dignity Strauss this week explained that his own poor form and waning powers as a batsman were the principal cause of his departure. I sometimes wonder what role the sudden and accelerating balding of his head has played in diminishing his confidence. His honesty about being past his best is refreshing; and if he has offered some lessons on when to leave, his exemplary reign, in which England won the Ashes at home and abroad and became World No 1, offers some lessons on how to lead too. When he comes to set up the Strauss School of Management, and get paid handsomely for presentations in the City, I suspect he may have some of the following things to say.

First, there is no substitute for good character. Strauss has a decency honed by schooling at Radley, an economics degree from Durham, and a strong family. He was also a brilliant, clear communicator, articulating an inspiring vision at the start of his tenure: make England the best side in cricket. You can't take people with you unless you tell them – all of them – where you're going and why.

Other lessons he also personified from the outset: work harder than every member of your team, because no team can carry a lazy leader. Strauss's professionalism was evinced by how hard he trained, which in turn helped to make him the most successful catcher in English history.

People respond to responsibility, so give them the space and freedom to excel. Be ultra-personal, identify each individual's strengths and then nurture them. Strauss showed his emphasis on the personal with hand-written letters to every member of the team that played at Lord's.

Finally, be lucky – captaincy is 90 per cent luck, as my hero Richie Benaud put it – and at all costs don't let your enemies infiltrate your ranks on false pretences.

twitter.com/amolrajan

 

 

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

General Cover Teacher

£120 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Luton: Are you looking for part time/ ...

SEN (SLD/PMLD) Teacher

£120 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Are you a quailed Teacher ...

General Cover Teacher

£120 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Luton: Currently looking for teachers ...

SEN Teaching Assistant Runcorn

£50 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: SEN Teaching Assistant EBD , Septemb...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Theresa May  

It's not hard to imagine Prime Minister Theresa May standing on the steps of Downing Street

Jane Merrick
 

Karl Lagerfeld's latest Chanel show might have dressed itself up in feminism, but it was more embarrassing than empowering

Mark Izatt
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Why do we like making lists?

Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

Paris Fashion Week

Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
10 best children's nightwear

10 best children's nightwear

Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

Manchester City vs Roma

Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

Trouble on the Tyne

Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?