A BATTING WITH BIMAL BREAKING REPORT: Andrew Strauss announces retirement from international cricket

Strauss thanked everyone who helped him achieve his dream of representing England

England Test captain Andrew Strauss shocked the cricketing community as he announced his retirement from international cricket, which brought an end to his 10-year career at the international level.

Strauss’ opening partner Alastair Cook has now been handed the reigns and will play his first Test as England captain against India in October.

Strauss stated that he made the tough decision while on holiday with his family after a disappointing 2-0 loss in the recent Test series against South Africa on home soil, which saw England replaced by the Proteas as the number one Test team.

However, Strauss’ decision to retire also comes at a time where the Kevin Pietersen saga has been grabbing all the headlines in England.

Pietersen was found guilty of sending derogatory text messages about Andrew Strauss to the South African players during the Test series, and even went as far as calling him a ‘dumb c***’ and telling the South African bowlers how to dismiss him.

But, Strauss noted that the Pietersen situation “was not a factor at all” in his decision to retire, and that he had been contemplating ending his career before the start of the South Africa series.

However, Strauss did admit that his lack of form with the bat was one of the major reasons why he decided to quit.

Strauss started his career in 1997, but only reached the international level in 2003, before being appointed as captain in early 2009 after the Pietersen and Peter Moores dispute.

“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. There are too many people who have helped me on this incredible journey to mention them all by name, but I would like to thank all the Middlesex and England players I have played alongside, as well as the phenomenal coaches and support staff with whom I have been fortunate enough to work. Particular mention has to go to Andy Flower and Duncan Fletcher in that regard. It would also be remiss of me not to thank Middlesex, the ECB and the PCA for their support and guidance over the years,” Strauss said.

“No one can play international cricket for any length of time without having an incredibly strong support network around them, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank my family for going through it all alongside me over the course of my England career. 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. I will be an interested spectator,” he added.

Strauss, who is currently 35, played his 100th Test match at Lord’s against South Africa, and even after the series loss to the Proteas, Strauss stated that he still had “a lot of desire” to play for England, but did not fully declare his intentions to carry on leading the team.

During the break between the Test and ODI series, Strauss noted that he was in need of a break and decided to talk to coach Andy Flower about his future in the sport.

Strauss had an extremely difficult and distraction-filled series against South Africa, as the Pietersen saga played upon his confidence, which saw him have another dismal series with the bat, with his highest score throughout the three Test series being 37.

Cook, who was appointed as ODI captain last year, will lead from the front and is expected to continue his blistering run of form with the bat.

Speaking about Strauss’ decision to retire, Cook said: “Andrew’s contribution to England cricket in recent years is evident to everyone who follows the sport but only those of us who have been lucky enough to share a dressing room with him are fully aware of his immense contribution to our success. He has been a fantastic captain, has led from the front for three and a half years and is a true ambassador for the game. To have played 100 Tests for your country is a phenomenal achievement and I want to congratulate him on a superb career. I know this can’t have been an easy decision for him and everyone in the dressing room will be sad to see him go.”

When asked about how it felt to be named as the new England Test captain, Cook said: “I’m very excited by this new challenge, it is a huge honour to be appointed Test captain and am very much looking forward to captaining the side in India this winter and beyond, but my immediate focus is on this current NatWest one-day series. Once the series is over I will turn my attention to the Test captaincy and building on the work Andrew has started.”

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) chief executive David Collier also thanked Strauss for all the hard work he had put in throughout his illustrious career.

“On behalf of the ECB and everyone involved in cricket I’d like to thank Andrew Strauss for his outstanding contribution to the game. Andrew has been a highly successful captain and opening batsman for Middlesex and England, who will be remembered for leading the side to two Ashes victories and to the top of the Test rankings. He has shown tremendous integrity, dedication and commitment both on and off the field and under his leadership the side has grown immeasurably and reached new levels of professionalism. Andrew’s calmness and authority when dealing with some of the most difficult moments in our sport in recent times should be applauded and I have no doubt that his contribution as an ambassador for the game will be recognised by anyone who has had an opportunity to spend time with him. His legacy within the game will be felt for many years to come and we now need to continue to build on the progress we have made under his leadership,” Collier said.

Strauss made his debut for England in 2004, where he scored a century against New Zealand at Lord’s, and played his last Test on the same ground against South Africa in 2012.

Strauss was keen to continue playing for England before his 100th Test match, but the recent string of event, including the Pietersen saga seems to have changed his mind.

Under Strauss, England quickly became the team to beat after they defeated arch-rivals Australia in back-t0-back Ashes series in 2009 and 2010 to 2011.

After thrashing India 4-0, Strauss and rest of the England squad became the number one Test team and held that position for a year until the recent South Africa Test series, which saw them fall to second on the rankings.

England’s loss to South Africa was the first home Test series that Strauss lost while being captain of the side.

However, in recent year, Strauss has not been able to score as many runs as he would have liked to.

The two centuries he made against the West Indies earlier this year sparked some hope amongst the fans and cricket pundits that Strauss may start showcasing some of his best form with the bat, but it was not to be as he could only manage 107 runs in six innings against South Africa.

Strauss finishes his career on 21 Test centuries, which is only one shy of the England record held by Geoffrey Boycott, Colin Cowdrey and Wally Hammond.

In the 100 Tests he played for England, Strauss scored 7037 runs at an average of 40.91, and during the 50 Tests he captained (which included four before being appointed fulltime captian, against Pakistan in 2006) he registered 24 victories.

Strauss is now the third captain to retire during or after a series against a South Africa squad led by Graeme Smith or the so-called ‘captain killer’.

Nasser Hussain ended his career early into the 2003 series against South Africa, and Michael Vaughan resigned as captain after the 2008 series loss to the Proteas.

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