London: England’s test captain Andrew Strauss reveals continued passion to lead England. He is enjoying test cricket both as a captain and as a batsman and isn’t looking to surrender his test job.
Captaincy in international cricket is a challenging job, a test of mental stamina on top of the physical demands of playing the game with a high intensity. Andrew Strauss, the senior of England’s three men’s captains, admits that a five-day Test can leave him shattered on both counts. Time off is vital, he says, especially when one Test follows another, back to back.
“When you are playing in such a crowded schedule you need to use your time off wisely, to recharge the batteries, but it is important to do things like this,” Strauss said. “If we disassociate ourselves from the grass-roots we miss a great opportunity to help the game flourish.”
Strauss dismissed the idea that the pressures of leadership might be something he would give up. He surrendered the one-day captaincy last year, but has no intention of passing on the Test job.
“I love captaincy, I love the challenge, it is what makes me get out of bed in the morning,” he said. “As a batsman, it can be a double-edged sword. If you are going through a bit of a bad patch and you need to spend time on your own game you can find your opportunities are a bit more limited, but on the other hand it can help you in that you have less time to think about it. In my mind thinking is overrated when it comes to batting because you want to be on autopilot as much as possible.
“It has been a fantastic learning curve for me, the leadership stuff, learning how to manage people, learning how to try to bring everyone together, to get the best out of them. These are things I find exciting at this stage of my career.
“Coaxing the best out of individuals is the big challenge, bigger than the tactical side of the job. You listen to commentators and they will talk about bowling changes or fielding positions but I don’t think that’s what wins you Test matches. I believe that what creates performances on the pitch is having the right off-field environment. It’s about what sort of team ethos you have, what sort of work ethic. It is those things that enable you to get people to play close to their potential, for the side to be greater than the sum of its parts. We work very hard on that.
“When you first start [as a captain], you are a bit more conscious about what you are doing and you try to prove yourself to everyone else. After a time you get a bit more comfortable in the job. I don’t find it difficult now but I’m still loving the challenge.”