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Last Updated: Tuesday, 25 January, 2005, 09:35 GMT
Strauss adds substance to style
Justin Langer
By Justin Langer
Australian Test batsman and former Middlesex captain

Any opposing team that has a person like Andrew Strauss within its ranks is a team that makes me nervous.

With the 2005 Ashes series approaching we know England will be a very tough proposition because of characters like Andrew, who has been a pivotal part of their outstanding success over the last 12 months.

Strauss stood out from the rest in terms of desire and commitment

Over the years I have come to believe that I would rather pick a person's character over his cover drive.

In other words, there are plenty of good players out there who have an abundance of talent and all the shots in the world, but in the end of the day it is the committed, focused, honest, courageous and selfless players who tend to make the grade.

During my time at Middlesex the young player who best epitomised these character traits was Andrew Strauss.

Angus Fraser, Mike Gatting and Mark Ramprakash led the way as senior players.

But I always felt Straussy was the young man who walked the talk, rather than talking a good game without backing up the lip service with actions.

Within any cricket team almost every guy will talk of their aspirations to play at the top level and represent their country.

Everyone hopes for higher honours but few actually want it enough to make the sacrifices and put in the necessary hard work to make it to the very top.

During my tenure at Middlesex, Strauss stood out from the rest in terms of desire and commitment to attaining excellence.

Whether we were playing a game of touch rugby, football or having a net session, it was Straussy's competitive spirit and tenacity that suggested he was going to progress to higher ranks.

Back then, his only downfall was his frustrating lack of big scores - he was the king of getting great starts but failing to hit the big hundred.

He has his destiny in his own hands and I for one am certain he will become one of the champions of English cricket

It was obvious he had the ability and it was obvious what a fantastic guy he was around the team, but for one reason or another he didn't seem to cash in.

As he matured as a player, and his confidence in his game and himself grew, he overcame this trend to the point where he is now playing as well as any player in the world.

It is always tremendous to see players who work hard and who are just plain good blokes enjoying success.

It has been a thrill to watch from my side of the world at the incredible development over the last 12 months of my good mate from Middlesex.

He is batting with courage and skill and he is adding steel to the England top-order.

His leadership has been evident to everyone who has watched his phenomenal success.

Not only is he enjoying Bradmanesque form with the bat, but his fielding is energetic and his level-headed approach to the game is a joy to watch.

Andrew Strauss
Strauss has been fluent and prolific with all shots from the textbook

One of the pearls of wisdom offered by John Buchanan since he has been coach of the Australian team is that he judges champion teams or individuals by their longevity and endurance.

Champions are not overnight sensations or a flash in the pan but rather long-term performers.

Straussy's only goal now is to keep performing over and over and over again.

When he scored his century on debut he e-mailed me, saying that he was not sure it could get any better.

My reply was that there was no reason why it couldn't.

He has his destiny in his own hands and I for one am certain he will become one of the champions of English cricket.

I am very happy for him and wish him every success in the world, until we face him in July!

Keeping a close eye on England
30 Dec 04 |  Other International

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