Andrew Strauss, England cricket captain, resigns from cricket. This afternoon, Strauss told the England Cricket Board (ECB) press conference that his decision was based purely on his batting form.
Andrew Strauss has been one of England's most successful captains in the game's long history. He has captained England since 2006. During his captaincy, England repeatedly won the Ashes and rose to the number one position in the world rankings. In his fifty test match captaincy, he personally scored nine centuries and averaged of over forty. This is a record to compare with the all time greats of cricket captaincy.
Strauss' shock announcement comes in the wake of serious discontent in the England camp. Kevin Pietersen, arguably England's best batsman, was recently dropped as a result of uncomplimentary text messages he sent about other members of the team, including captain Strauss. England also lost its number one spot in the world rankings this summer, when England were out played by South Africa.
At the press conference, Strauss made a point of emphasizing that his decision was based purely on his batting form and had nothing to do with furore surrounding the decision to drop Kevin Pietersen. BBC News reports Strauss explaining his decision to quit cricket:
For me the driver to it all quite frankly was my form with the bat. In truth, I haven't battled well enough for a long time now. I think I have run my race.
The Guardian reports that the press conference ended with Strauss receiving a round of applause from the assembled journalists, something reminiscent of nothing so much as a Brian Lara press conference back in 2007. Another sign of the high regard in which Strauss is widely held is the hundred bottles of wine he has been given by the England team to mark his retirement from the game.
According to the Daily Telegraph, Michael Vaughan, a former England captain, who also resigned after losing to South Africa, said:
I wasn't surprised. It is a sad day when someone gives up the England captaincy. It is the manner in which he has dealt with the team that stands out though. The England dressing room will be in sombre mood but they have passed on the baton to good hands.
The "good hands" the baton is being passed to has been announced as Alastair Cook, who said:
I've got huge boots to fill ... I'm incredibly excited about the challenge ahead and hopefully I can do a good job ... I hope I've got the leadership qualities to be able to do that.