Andrew Strauss is certain Joe Root has right temperament for England role

England captain Andrew Strauss lifting the Ashes Urn after winning the fifth test at the Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney, in, 2011.
England captain Andrew Strauss lifting the Ashes Urn after winning the fifth test at the Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney, in, 2011.
0
Have your say

GIVEN his own background, Andrew Strauss certainly knows plenty about the trials and tribulations of captaining England.

The current director of England cricket led his country in 50 Tests, chiefly between 2009 and 2012, twice claiming the Ashes.

England's director of cricket Andrew Strauss. PA Sport

England's director of cricket Andrew Strauss. PA Sport

However, he endured some difficult periods too, not least when coming into the role after a rift between previous captain Kevin Pietersen and then coach Peter Moores became public.

Other captains have faced awkward situations to navigate upon their appointment also.

So, considering the current general pleasantness around the England camp, it was a valid question when Strauss was asked this week if any captain has had such a harmonious squad to take control of as newly-appointed leader Joe Root does now.

The Yorkshire batsman has replaced Alastair Cook, who called time on his long reign in charge due to concerns about whether he had the energy to take them into another Ashes series.

Yorkshire's Joe Root, the new England Cricket Club captain, pictured at Headingley. (Picture: Tony Johnson)

Yorkshire's Joe Root, the new England Cricket Club captain, pictured at Headingley. (Picture: Tony Johnson)

Strauss said: “I think we’re in a good place. Often when there is a change of leader it’s at a time of crisis one way or another.

“Certainly when England captains have resigned in the past it’s often been on the back of times when the team or they are in turmoil so we are not in that place at all.

“It’s fantastic Alastair has been able to go out on his own terms, that Joe and Alastair have a really close relationship and that Alastair will continue playing.

“We start off on the right foot but we’re obviously conscious that we have a lot of important cricket coming up over the next 12 months or so. Ultimately we’ll look back in 12 months at how orderly that transition has been based on how well we perform in the next 12 months or so.”

Strauss did concede that Root, who had been vice-captain since 2015, had always been in a “strong position” to step up.

“But we all felt it was important to get a clear understanding, not just from him but from other potential candidates, as to how they would take the team forward,” he insisted.

“What really impressed me in our conversations with Joe was just how clear he was in his mind about how the England team should operate going forward.

“Style of play, very strong thoughts about where we needed to improve, and some really developed thinking around the dressing room itself, and all that sort of stuff that goes into being an England captain.

“You (media) guys think about it in terms of what happens out in the field, but there’s a lot more to it than that.

“And it was very clear that his thinking was very well developed in a load of different areas.”

England do have a busy summer ahead including home Test series against South Africa and West Indies plus Twenty20 and one-day internationals.

So, with Root set to feature in all three formats, there are obvious concerns about his well-being and ability to handle the workload. Speaking from experience, though, Strauss, feels there will be an extra spring in the step of the 26-year-old as he sets to work and remains unconcerned.

“I heard him (Root) say we need to just manage him well,” he said.

“But at the same time, when you get to the end of a captaincy career, you look at Alastair Cook and talk about him feeling a bit drained at the back end.

“The opposite is also true; early on in your captaincy career, it’s incredibly energising.

“You walk a bit taller, and you are passionate about taking the team forward, and you want to contribute to winning games of cricket.

“We’ve seen a lot of captains that it’s had a really positive effect on their game generally.

“There’s no reason why that wouldn’t happen to Joe for the next 18 months. And it’s 18 very important months, 18 busy months, but huge opportunities there for both him and the England cricket team.”

When asked for specific moments which made him think Root was cut-out for English cricket’s biggest job, Strauss offered the rapid 54 to help the side steady after a shaky start in the Twenty20 final last year.

He said: “I think what’s interesting with all players is how they handle high-pressure situations, For me, I personally think one of the best innings Joe has played – and I know it’s not relevant in this context because it wasn’t in Test cricket – was the final of the World T20 and how well he was able to keep control of himself in a highly-pressurised situation.

“That’s what you need from a captain: first day of an Ashes series, can you lead in the right way? I think Joe’s got that in abundance – that stomach for the fight and that ability to soak up pressure and come out fighting.”

Strauss continued: “There is only so much you can do as vice-captain, and only so much I can see if I’m not in that dressing-room all the time.

“But all the comments I got back were around, effectively, what a role model he is for everyone else.

“That’s partly due to what he’s done on the pitch, but (also) the way he carries himself.

“He’s got that really good mix of being relatively light-hearted, not too serious but with a real spine and solidity to him and the ability to stand up and fight for either himself or his team.”