STRAUSS IS THE MAN
People have extraordinarily short memories. Six months ago, everyone was talking about how Andrew Strauss had re-invigorated England’s cricket with sound, stable leadership and a positive approach to defeat South Africa in a five match one day series. That was on the back of regaining the Ashes and holding South Africa to a draw in a hard fought test series. But last week, after his spring break from the international circuit and England’s remarkable World T20 success, there was much conjecture about his position as England’s (one day) leader.
No wonder Strauss was wondering around during the Bangladesh tests wearing the hunted look. People were gunning for him. Why go back on an old flawed format, they were saying, when England have just achieved unprecendented success with a bright new one? The fact is Strauss was at the forefront of that new format, and had set the tone himself 12 months earlier in the West Indies with purposeful batting that had even the West Indies themselves taking note. On occasions he out-Gayled the gargantuan West Indies captain.
Strauss’s batting stats have been good the last year in one day cricket (632 runs average 33 in 20 games) with a decent strike rate of 78.5 (runs per 100 balls.) He has been developing his range of shots and his power and given England some racy starts. He is sharp in the field. He is not going to blast away at 10 an over, but the 50 over version of the game has scope for serious cricket. You need someone with a reputable technique, particularly in England in June where the ball still has a tendency to nip about both at 10.45 in the morning, or, more typically, under lights at 7pm. To have at least a couple of proper batsmen in your line up who don’t wield a Mongoose or attempt a switch-hit after three balls at the wicket is not only reassuring. It is compulsory.
What England do have to do is be flexible and still bat with no fear. Too often in the calamitous two decades since an appearance in the World Cup final in 1992, they have stuck with a pre-set batting order made keeping wickets in hand a priority, then found there was no one to take advantage of that protectivity in the last 10 overs. Now that England bat all the way down there is no need for that excessive caution or regimented approach. Strauss can open in some games – say at Lord’s perhaps, or Cardiff, where the ball might do a bit. But he could make way for the power hitters at Bristol or the Rose Bowl where sometimes the pitch gradually gets more suffocating as the innings wears on and you need an adaptable player.
Strauss is that player – England’s multi-tasker.
1 person has left a comment
Glad you are still following the game.
I wish to point to the weather in Ireland and that outside Dublin and N.Ireland they play on artificial surfaces.
Players are born and made. A system has to be in place to produce them.
Majority of Australian players are made. They practice hard, and persistanly.
It is much easier to write a column.