The captain of England, Andrew Strauss, announced his retirement from professional cricket with immediate effect and Alastair Cook will lead the Test side instead.
The decision came as a surprise for cricket lovers in England and all around the world as there were no indications from Strauss that he would quit the game at all levels.
Andrew John Strauss was born on March 2, 1977, in Johannesburg, Transvaal, South Africa, a left hand opening batsman and an occasional left arm medium fast bowler. He has played for England, Northern Districts and Middlesex and scored heavily for his sides, especially for the national team.
Strauss was born in South Africa, moved to England at the early age of six and continued grooming his game as he was growing up. He was a competent left hand top order batsman who specialised in playing off his legs and cut shots besides disgracing all types of bowling with his willow. He had played almost against all major teams in the world with elegant results in their respective countries and in England as well. He started first class cricket in 1997, continued piling up runs on the domestic circuit and was picked up to represent the English side in a One Day International.
The left hand batsman made his ODI debut against Sri Lanka on November 18, 2003, at Rangiri Dambulla International Stadium. He took part in his last match vs. Sri Lanka in the ICC Cricket World Cup, 2011-quarter final on March 26, 2011, at R Premadasa Stadium, Colombo.
Strauss has played 127 ODIs, scored 4205 runs at an average of 35.63, the best of 158 with 6 hundreds and 27 fifties.
The prominent batsman played his first Test vs. New Zealand on May 20, 2004, at Lord’s, London. He smashed 112 runs in his inaugural innings and missed the ton by 17 runs in the second innings when he was unluckily run out. England won the Test by seven wickets, He made his arrival in the cricket arena with a bang and was declared ‘Player of the match’ in his first game.
Strauss was handed over the England captaincy in 2009 when Kevin Pietersen stepped down. England visited West Indies in early 2009, and played five Test series which was lost by the visitors 1-0.
Australia visited England in July-August 2009 to participate in the five Test series which was won by the home side 2-1 and clinched the Ashes. The journey towards prosperity continued and the four Test away series against South Africa in early 2010, was drawn at 1-1.
Sri Lanka landed in England for a three Test series in May-June 2011, and the English side won that by 1-0. Strauss led England to the title of the best Test team in the world by clinching that from the visiting Indian team. That was the first foreign trip by India after winning the ICC Cricket World Cup, 2011, which was played in the sub continent. India was the then ICC No.1 ranked Test squad as well. England humiliated the visitors with a white wash of 4-0 and snatched the No. 1 ranking from them.
Andrew Strauss was pleased with his performance as long as he was playing for England and his side enjoyed as the best team in the world. He extended his best wishes to the new Test captain, Alastair Cook and the coach Andy Flower. He said,
“I am extremely proud of everything I have achieved as a cricketer, and I have found myself very fortunate to play in an era when some of English cricket’s greatest moments have occurred. I have loved every minute of it. All that remains is for me to wish Andy, Alastair and the rest of the team the very best for the coming months.”
The leadership qualities of Strauss were hailed all over England and the team enjoyed the top position for almost one year. The 35-year-old has played 100 Tests, hammered 7037 runs at an average of 40.91, the best of 177 with 21 centuries and 27 fifties.
The South African team led by Graeme Smith landed in England and demonstrated superb cricket throughout the three Test series which was played in July-August 2012. The home team was lashed back by the touring team 2-0 and South Africa became the new Test champions.
Andrew Strauss had a poor series against the Proteas and managed just 107 runs in 6 innings at a poor average of 17.83 with the best of 37 runs. He had some controversies with Kevin Pietersen that resulted in the ouster of the middle order batsman in the third and final Test which was played at Lord’s, London in late August, 2011.Strauss had a long discussion with his close friends and family members and decided to call it a day for the progress and prosperity of the English cricket. He further commented,
“After much thought over the last few weeks, I have decided to step down as England Test captain and announce my retirement from all forms of cricket. It has clearly been a tough decision to make, but I believe that it is both in the best interests of the England cricket team and myself to step down at this stage.”
England will miss the services rendered by one of their greatest batsmen and a true leader, Andrew Strauss, and his contribution to the game will be remembered in the country’s cricket history forever.