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Strauss to lead West Indies tour

Andrew Strauss
Strauss averaged 55.66 with the bat as England captain

Andrew Strauss will captain England for the forthcoming West Indies tour after Kevin Pietersen's shock resignation.

The 31-year-old Middlesex batsman captained England during five Tests in 2006, which included an impressive series win against Pakistan.

It is unclear whether Strauss will lead the one-day and Twenty20 teams as he was not part of the original squad.

Pietersen resigned over his rift with coach Peter Moores, who has been sacked by the England and Wales Cricket Board.

During a turbulent day for English cricket, ECB managing director Hugh Morris said: "Andrew Strauss has agreed to lead the team to the Caribbean. He led the England team with distinction in 2006 when Michael Vaughan was injured."

England's tour of the Caribbean starts with a friendly against a St Kitts & Nevis Invitation XI on 25 January, while the first Test of the series begins in Jamaica on 4 February.

606: DEBATE
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Strauss was a leading contender to deputise for the then injured captain Vaughan during the 2006 Ashes, but all-rounder Andrew Flintoff was instead appointed for a series which ended in a humiliating 5-0 whitewash.

The opener was then a candidate to succeed Vaughan when the Yorkshire batsman stood down last summer but the left-hander was struggling with the bat, leaving Pietersen as the only viable choice for the job.

The ECB's reluctance to split the captaincy after the resignation of Vaughan and, almost immediately afterwards, that of Paul Collingwood as leader of the one-day side also counted against the South Africa-born batsman.

A fine return to form during the recent series in India, which featured twin hundreds in the first Test in Chennai, cemented Strauss's place in the Test side and made him the overwhelming favourite to succeed Pietersen.

ANDREW STRAUSS FACTFILE
1977: March 2 - Born, Johannesburg, South Africa
1998: Makes Middlesex first-class debut
2004: May - Makes Test debut, scoring 112 and 83 against New Zealand at Lord's
2005: September - Scores his second century of victorious Ashes series triumph over Australia in fifth Test
2006: April - Captains England for first time in sixth ODI against India in Jamshedpur
2006: June - Captains England during humiliating 5-0 one-day series loss to Sri Lanka
2007: Dropped for tour of Sri Lanka in first half of winter
2008: December - Returns to form with two centuries in first Test against India
Former England all-rounder Dominic Cork championed Strauss to be confirmed as captain for the whole tour to include the one-day and Twenty20 games, while former national coach David Lloyd told BBC Radio 5 Live: "I think Andrew Strauss is a very able man, he's a very good man and he's in form as well. He's a steady hand."

Allan Lamb, who like Pietersen left South Africa to qualify for England, questioned Strauss's ability in the shortened versions of the game.

"I think Strauss taking over, everyone should get behind him," said Lamb.

"I think he will make a good captain. He should have captained the side when they went to Australia and lost the Ashes, when Flintoff was captain.

"But you need a guy that is going to play all three dimensions of the game, every other captain playing for their country plays in all three.

"Unfortunately, I don't think Strauss will play in all three dimensions so that will create a problem. That is why they picked Pietersen - he can play all three dimensions."

It is a remarkable turnaround in fortunes for a man who was omitted from the 2007 tour to Sri Lanka and whose England place was not totally secure even when he returned to the batting line-up for last winter's tour of New Zealand.

However, Strauss's record suggests he is a player who thrives under the pressure of captaincy.

In leading the team against Pakistan in July 2006, he hit a second-innings 128 for the highest Test score by an Englishman captaining his country for the first time and then hit another ton in the third Test to lead England to a 2-0 series win.

His batting average as captain stands at 55.66, compared to his overall Test record of 42.37.

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see also
England discord worries Butcher
06 Jan 09 |  England
Harmison calls for England unity
05 Jan 09 |  England
Vaughan misses out on tour place
29 Dec 08 |  England
England in West Indies 2009
29 Dec 08 |  England


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