Clarke and Collier laud Strauss
Giles Clarke and David Collier led the praise and thanks for England Test captain Andrew Strauss, who retired from professional cricket today.
Strauss, the 35-year-old Middlesex opening batsman, called it a day after 100 Tests, half of which he was captain for. A senior career that began in 1997 also featured 127 one-day and four Twenty20 internationals. In all international formats the left-hander hit 11,315 runs and took 179 catches.
Following interim roles in 2006 and 2007, Strauss was appointed Test and ODI captain at the start of 2009. He relinquished the latter after last year’s World Cup but continued to lead in Tests until today.
ECB chairman Clarke extended the plaudits during a press conference at Derbyshire's County Ground.
Clarke said he was informed of the decision yesterday and held a lengthy talk with Strauss this morning.
"I've learned not to be surprised by anything that happens in cricket," said Clarke, who described Strauss as "a great England captain" and hailed his partnership with Andy Flower as a model captain-coach relationship.
Clarke added: "Andrew Strauss is a man who makes his own decisions and he made it clear he had been reaching that conclusion prior to the South Africa series.
"He had a lengthy discussion with Andrew Flower and, although I have learned that Andrew can change his mind sometimes, on this matter definitely not."
Clarke admits Cook will have a hard act to follow, but believes he is the perfect choice as Strauss' successor.
"Andrew Strauss has embodied everything that the nation expects from the England cricket captain," he said.
"For us all, it has been a rare privilege to work with such a remarkable man. But the game must move on and we must congratulate Alastair Cook as Andrew's successor.
"He is magnificent opening batsman and his success as one-day international captain give him very strong credentials for a fine career as England's Test captain.
"We look forward to an exciting time under his leadership. I think we've all got confidence in Alastair Cook's quiet ability to lead his team. We've seen how well he has done with the one-day side."
Cook’s first series in the new role is with India, beginning in mid-November - just over a year from England’s 5-0 ODI defeat there.
"The national selector will naturally be consulting with Alastair Cook on his views as he seeks to shape his team and on the strategy for the India tour,” Clarke added.
"We are all determined that we perform considerably better in India than we did on our last one-day international tour there and, for that to happen, clearly the captain must be equipped with the squad that he thinks contains the skills required to do well."
Collier, ECB Chief Executive, commented: “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.
“I would like to congratulate Alastair on becoming Test captain. He has shown he has the traits needed to be a successful captain and has demonstrated his leadership capabilities as one-day captain over the last 16 months.
"On behalf of the ECB I would like to wish Alastair and Andy Flower all the very best for the exciting challenges that lie ahead.”