An era came to an end on Wednesday with the announcement that the England Test Captain, Andrew Strauss was retiring from professional cricket with immediate effect.  Vice-captain, Alastair Cook, will now take charge of the team in all three forms of the game.

It has been a turbulent summer for English cricket with the loss of the number one test ranking to South Africa and the latest episode in the Kevin Pietersen soap opera. However, Strauss blamed poor form for his decision and said it was taken weeks ago should his patchy performances with the bat continue.

Strauss first took charge of England back in the summer of 2006 during the controversial Pakistan tour when the tourists walked off when accused of ball tampering by umpire Darrell Hair. England won the series convincingly, but Strauss missed out on the captaincy for the ill-fated 2006/7 Ashes tour down under. He took charge for the series against West Indies in 2007 after the resignation of Kevin Pietersen and the sacking of Peter Moores. At this stage English cricket was in turmoil and a steady hand was needed; Strauss and new coach Andy Flower guided the good-ship England to great heights.

Back-to-back Ashes wins and a 4-0 whitewashing of India last summer saw England reach the number one Test ranking for the first time in 2011. The respect that Strauss commanded within the team was obvious and his conduct on and off the field was key to all the success.

However, the Kevin Pietersen text issue has over-shadowed everything this summer and to add insult to injury the South Africans stole England's number one spot.  Although Strauss has denied it, I feel it's clear that KP has had an influence on Strauss' decision. The boat has been rocked within the dressing room and on the field; the stability of the Strauss/Flower machine has been shaken.

So what of his legacy? Undoubtedly, the Ashes wins and number one ranking will grab the headlines. His reign has also seen a consistency of selection. However, for me his legacy is Alastair Cook his opening partner and replacement as captain. Under Strauss' guidance Cook has become a world class opener and potentially excellent captain. He shares the same level-headed attitude and solid relationship with coach Andy Flower. I cannot remember a transition from captain to captain which has been smoother in handling and more obvious in choice. There has been no speculation about possible replacements as in the past. This stability, I believe, is Strauss' legacy.

Francis Taylor - Presenter - Monday Night Sports Show


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