Tag Archives: andrew strauss

Strauss the overachiever

When England travelled to New Zealand for 2008/09, I didn’t realise that Andrew Strauss was on his way out. But then, I’d never thought of him much at all. That’s not to say I ever thought he was rubbish, he just wasn’t someone who I thought of much. I remember he had a good start, was around during some Ashes, was on the Warne highlight reel as one of his landmark wickets and liked to smack the ball through point. But for someone who had been around for so long, he was almost anonymous to me.

I think I would have picked out his image in a photo array, but it would have been touch and go.

The first time I realised there was something more to Strauss was that he moved to Hamilton to prepare for a Test series against New Zealand. It wasn’t that he moved to a place to prepare for a series, professional athletes do that now, but that he did it for New Zealand. Not a five Test series, or a series against the heavy hitters of world cricket, he did it for the team that series that some players treat more as a holiday than a proper series.

Strauss treated it more seriously than some of his team mates had treated the 06/07 Ashes.

It was from then on in I started taking more notice of Strauss.

When KP was captain (it really happened, google it) and the Indian tour got disrupted by the Mumbai Terror attacks. It was Strauss who showed the courage and conviction of a leader. He stated publicly that England should go back to India, and eventually the team agreed with him. It was the right decision.

In Chennai Strauss was a man on a mission, scoring hundreds in both innings. That’s some batting, and to top it off, it was in a losing cause. He’d dragged his team to India, then he’d put them on his back, and it wasn’t even his team yet.

Then it was, and Strauss turned a team of decent players into a professional unit that beat teams up with precision and tedium. They, briefly, took over the world. There is no doubt that without Strauss this team would have continued to be an inconsistent spoiler team.

That’s not to say Strauss was perfect. At several times during his career he was short of runs, his captaincy was slightly more conservative than his friend David Cameron’s front bench, and there were times it felt like he was Andy Flower’s puppet (which is not how he got his nickname muppet).

But for a Late blooming Test player to play 100 Tests, 50 as captain, win three Ashes (two in charge), beat the number one team 4-0 and claim the number one title all with a batting average of barely 40. There is something special to that. It’s an overachievement on a massive scale. Strauss found a way to drag the absolute best out of himself. And then he used the lessons he‘d learnt about professionalism on his own and made a whole team better.

In doing all Strauss went from a fairly forgettable opening batsman to a captain who’ll be mentioned for years to come. Strauss only touched greatness a couple of times, but who expected him to even touch it once? Especially with an average of 40.91.

Strauss was definitely much more than a forgettable opener with a few decent shots through point. I’m just glad we got to see it.

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The amazing story of the first ball of the Ashes

For a long time music and talking filled the ground, then it all stopped.

The pitch was empty as the umpires strolled out there and Andrew Strauss would face the first ball of the Ashes from a man wearing comedy moustache to try and bring a bit of history to the moment.

The crowd swelled, because as we all know, the first ball of the Ashes always tells the whole story.

Once you see it, watching the rest of the series is completely useless.

So when Hilfenhaus came into Strauss, it wasn’t just a normal delivery, it was a story, a fable, epic and far reaching. Steeped in history, mystery and folklore, you’ll tell your kids where you were when Hilfenhaus bowled it.

Because they will want to know about the ball that was outside off stump and left alone by Strauss.

They won’t even care about the rest of the over in a few hundred years, just that first gentle dot ball.

What a story it tells.

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balls profile: andrew strauss

Reminds most people of that guy they went to school with, you know the type, was always destined to do well, you liked him and all, but you could never remember a conversation you had with him.  Has the stiffest of stiff upper lips.  Performed his own version of the crusades when he convinced his teammates to go back to India after the Mumbai attacks.  Is a proper opening batsman, but has a reputation for being stodgier than he actually is.  Captains the English side in a modern public school way, in that he makes others believe he really cares what they think, that they are part of the decision-making process and then only listens to Andy Flower.  Has a stoic elegance to him, would not be the worst model for a clothing line aimed at people who have so much money they like extreme sports.

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Bangladesh becomes a bye

In the future I hope Bangladesh become a powerhouse of international cricket.

They play cricket in a way that excites me; they love spin, attack without thinking and have a passion for the game.

But if Andrew Strauss goes through with his plan of not touring for a test series against them the ICC have to step in.

Either there is too much international cricket, which is doubtful, as there is less International games than what an English pro plays in 6 months for a county team.

Or Bangladesh, after all these years of struggling, has now become nothing more than a bye on the international fixture.

In the last 12 months Strauss has played 7 useless one dayers against Australia, was scheduled for the same against India, and then flew to South Africa for a tournament most people have probably assumed didn’t exist any more. He also played a handful of games for Middlesex.

All of these should be less important than a test series, even against the worst test team in the world. Clearly they are.

Australia had also once thought of sending a development side to play Bangladesh in a test series, the only reason they didn’t was because they didn’t want to hand out test caps to players who were not good enough to make the proper team.

If Strauss doesn’t play, I would doubt that Dhoni will, and we all know that with Australia’s love of resting players eventually they will rest players for tests.

So where will that leave a Bangladesh side that sells no tickets and can’t win enough matches to earn respect?

If you said Fucked, you’re correct.

The ICC need to get off their hairless asses and take a look at what is going on.

I know it is easier to fly around the world, say aids is no good, tell KP to put more tape on his pads, host pointless committees and pretend that they never funded a dictator, but once, just fucken once, why don’t try and fix a problem in the game of cricket.

Then they can go chew on cigars at their gentleman’s clubs, smoke crystal meth off the metallic underwear of their teenage lovers, or watch strictly come snuffing.

I don’t care, but Bangladesh is now not an important venue for the test captain of England to automatically turn up.

WAKE THE FUCK UP ICC.

This is your job, not ensuring the yahoo corporate catch phrase is played at the right time.

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Is Graeme Smith a cheat? No. Damn. (exclusive)

EDIT: Original post was based on the BBC article and also a few others from India about Smith Having a leg injury, he doesn’t, he has an arm/elbow or upper limb injury. The BBC is still running this as a leg injury, but as Brandon from the cricket corollary pointed out, in the SA the phsyio is quoted as saying it is his arm that is injured. Arm/Leg, same same.

So the post below, brilliant as it obviously is, is not correct. But I still like the phrase “This decision is based on Graeme’s current upper limb dysfunction.”

The other night Graeme Smith said he had cramp, and that he wanted a runner.

Strauss and the umpires weren’t comfortable with giving a runner for cramp and denied the request.

I was happy, Smith was pissed off, the world keeps turning.

Then I read this:

“South Africa captain Graeme Smith has pulled out of next month’s Champions League Twenty20 tournament in order to ensure he is fit to face England. Smith, who plays for the Cape Cobras, has been struggling with a leg injury, despite scoring 141 in a losing cause against England on Sunday. “

If he had a leg injury coming into that match, then he would not have been able to call for a runner.

From the laws of cricket:

1. Substitutes and runners
(a) If the umpires are satisfied that a player has been injured or become ill after the nomination of the players, they shall allow that player to have
(i) a substitute acting instead of him in the field.
(ii) a runner when batting.
Any injury or illness that occurs at any time after the nomination of the players until the conclusion of the match shall be allowable, irrespective of whether play is in progress or not.”

If the leg injury was so bad he is not being sent to India for the Champion’s League, and he didn’t actually injure himself in this match, then this is gloriously dodgy.

I do not doubt he had cramp (not a fat joke, he looks slim to me), but he also had a pre-existing leg injury, which should have meant that he couldn’t ask for a runner under the rules of cricket.

The cunning prick probably thought he was getting around his injury by using the cramp, and then Strauss ruined that.

The SA team physiotherapist said he should be out of cricket for 4-6 weeks.

Being that it appears he didn’t pick the injury up against England, and it was serious enough to keep him out of action for a month the question has to be asked, was Graeme Smith cheating when he called for a runner?

I’ve grown to not despise Graeme Smith of recent times.

He is still not my favourite cricketer, but I do love his ability to play hurt.

That doesn’t mean he isn’t a cheat.

Not that cheating means I will turn against him, I sort of respect him more.

It should also be said I respect who ever uttered this:

“This decision is based on Graeme’s current upper limb dysfunction.”

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Strauss hates runners

The other night I had a go at Strauss for calling back Mathews after he had run into Graham Onions.

The umpires had told Mathews he was out, but then Strauss gestured to the umpires for him to be brought back on the ground.

I thought it was disgusting behavior.

Last night Strauss redeemed himself.

He didn’t allow Graeme Smith a runner.

Technically, and by technically I mean in the laws of cricket, the fielding team has no say in it. Just like he didn’t technically call back Mathews, he withdrew his appeal. How he did that from 5 metres away with a hand gesture that mimed waiving him back onto the pitch.

It is the umpire’s call on a runner, the umpires clearly didn’t think a runner was the right option, but went to Strauss to see if he cared, he did.

But not for the reasons I thought, “fuck him it is only cramp”, he had an almost theological reason, he doesn’t believe in runners.

Had Smith had a broken leg Strauss probably would have let him have a runner, but for cramp he put his foot down.

I personally don’t think having cramp is a good enough reason for a runner, but now I am drawn by Strauss’ theory to abolish runners altogether.

There are few greater sites than when a batsman gets injured and starts swinging away, it has a gladiatorial feel to it, but then the impish waddle to backward square leg often ruins it for me. If he has to run and deal with the pain on every level that is truly a supreme effort of bravery and heroics. Also, watching Smith trying to run after big heaves really made me feel warm.

But then what about the comical run outs. Sure the hobbling might get a few runs out, but runner’s run outs are great. No one knows where anyone is, the fielders throw to the wrong end, there are 3 batsmen all behind one crease and even the umpires take a few seconds to look around and work everything out.

Do we want that taken from the game?

I don’t know.

I will never agree with cramps getting a runner, and this is from someone who gets massive cramps and has when he was in peak fitness, and now in unpeak fitness.

But to abolish the runner altogether, is that the way to go…

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Strauss ruins cricket

Today Andrew Strauss called back a batsman who was out because he didn’t want to look bad.

Is that what cricket has come to?

Worrying about how your team will be portrayed is now more important than winning a game of cricket.

It can be the only explanation for calling back Angelo Mathews after he ran straight into Graham Onions.

Onions did not change his direction, all he did was hold his ground, Mathews ran into him, that is Mathews fault.

It was unlucky, but are we going to start calling people back when they are unluckily out?

Should Australia have called back KP went he head butted the ball to short leg?

Why aren’t batsmen who are run out off the bowler’s fingers given such special treatment.

Should India have told any batsman that went out to Agit Agarkar that they could have a second go?

No.

Shit happens.

Cricket is a cruel mistress, and it wanted Angelo Mathews out (perhaps because he doesn’t exist), so one run later he was out.

The batsman’s job is to get around the bowler, as long as the bowler doesn’t do a Brendan Julian hip and shoulder, all is fair.

I miss Paul Collingwood’s captaincy.

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Freddie’s knee, Strauss’ selections and lots of mixed messages

At Edgbaston I floated up a theory that Strauss and Flitnoff weren’t on the best of terms.

It was a baseless guess with lackadaisical reasoning and naked hunches.

Then I read a few stories about how Freddie had said he was as fit for Headingley as he was for Edgbaston.

Yet England didn’t pick him.

According to Freddie’s agent:

“He told them that he was fit enough to get through, that he felt no different to how he felt at Edgbaston and that he could get through and do his bit. They didn’t want him.”

So did Strauss crack it with Freddie because he thought he wasn’t fit enough to get through at Edgbaston.

Or is there something deeper going on.

England have already cleared Freddie to play in the next test.

That seems a long way out to clear him for duty.

And the wording is odd too, they aren’t saying he is fit now; they are saying he should be fit by then.

The ECB’s statement:

“Andrew Flintoff’s right-knee injury was reviewed today by his specialist in conjunction with the ECB and Lancashire medical teams. The advice received was that the swelling in his knee has significantly eased following the decision by the England management team to rest him from the last Test and that subject to further rest and intensive treatment, he will be available for selection at The Oval.”

There seems to be mixed messages going on about Freddie at the moment.

Either that or the definition of “fit” seems to be a fluid concept depending on who is using it.

This is what I wrote when he was limping around Edgbaston:

“Right now Freddie is walking towards me like a man looking for a zimmer frame, yet he is fielding at long on…”

Something is going on.

I have no idea what, but I figure I could accidently stumble onto it eventually.

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Michael Clarke Debunked

Yesterday’s face saving innings (from an Australian, if not a personal perspective) has had a few people wondering if Clarke is one of the best batsmen in the world today.

Hmmmmm.

Yesterday’s ton was his 12th in 81 innings, a strike rate of one every 6.75 innings.

In the current series, that puts him behind Ponting (exactly 1:6), but ahead of both Katich and Mr Cricket. But it also puts him behind Strauss (1:6.61) and Pietersen (1:6.06). Which, for my money, makes him no better than 5th in the world and probably not even in the top ten.Unfortunately for Australia, he’s currently their only batsman in any kind of consistent form and yet he’s still rubbish against the moving ball. If one thing emphasises Australia’s struggles in this series, it is that.

(Katich and Hussey, incidentally, have very similar records. One lost his place and fought and fought til he won it back; the other seems undroppable no matter how bad his form. Makes you wonder who deserves that Mr Cricket title more, doesn’t it?)

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The Trott Theory

Jonathan Trott was born in South Africa.

So were Andrew Strauss and Matt Prior.

Throw in Kevin Pietersen and that’s 1/4 of the 16 players England have called up this summer who were born Saffers.

I don’t have a problem with this. England has a proud tradition of utilising players from the former colonies. Heck, some of them – Dexter, Grieg, Lamb (once) and two of the above have gone on to captain the side.

My problem is that we’re clearly missing a trick. None of these have produced offspring who were also born abroad (preferably in SA). This shows a serious lack of forward planning by the ECB. Hell, Strauss was even allowed to return home from a tour to be with his wife whilst she gave birth. In England. What the ECB should’ve done was to ship her out to Jo’burg at 24 weeks, then confine her there until after the big squeeze.

They made the same mistake with Mrs Prior, too, which just shows what a bunch of braindeads they are.

KP has to be next in the frame. He’s got a few weeks where he can’t really do anything but put his feet up and he’s known to enjoy spending extra time with Jessica. If Geoff Miller hasn’t stuck the pair of them on a plane to Durban by now, he should be penning his resignation letter first thing in the morning. The future of English cricket demands nothing less.

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