Andrew Strauss: inspirational influence on England’s team – ICC World Cup 2011

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Andrew Strauss: inspirational influence on England’s team – ICC World Cup 2011
England’s Andrew Strauss has been the ‘guiding-light’ for his team during the ICC World Cup 2011, as he took England to the quarter-finals of the prestigious tournament. He led from the front and managed to put in an amazing performance on both an individual
and team effort. His hard work and dedication to English cricket is without a doubt, truly inspirational. 
Despite his South African connection, Andrew Strauss had been an eye-catching performer for in the English county circuit before he earned his first England call-up for the opening test of the 2004 English season against the touring New Zealanders
lead by Stephen Fleming. The Johannesburg-born Strauss did not waste any time whatsoever in making an impression in the cricketing world by scoring a first innings century against a bowling attack comprising of some great Kiwi bowlers like Chris Cairns, Daniel
Vettori, Darrel Tuffey and Chris
The Black Caps remained on top for most part of the Test match, setting England a tough 282 runs to chase on a sporting track at Lords. Strauss once again did all he could in order to cement his spot in the England line-up by scoring a majestic 83 during
a big partnership with his good friend and captain, who scored his century and England scampered home.
Hussain was so impressed by the attitude and character shown by Strauss that after that Lords test, which was the first of the series, he announced his retirement from the game, citing the reason that Strauss was more than good to replace him now and he
would induct young blood into the England team. Since then Strauss or “levi” as they call him, has never looked back.
Although he captained England in patches as a make-shift captain, he could not become captain due to the presence of Michael Vaughan and, those with good understanding of the game knew that he was the one for the future. His two centuries
against Australia in the home ashes series in 2005 and big partnerships with and Vaughan helped England clinch the ashes series from the world champions after many years of hard-fought struggle.
Strauss was eventually named captain for the home series against Pakistan in 2006 due to Vaughan missing out due to injury and he captained the side brilliantly, winning the test series convincingly against a potent and experienced Pakistan team. He captained
the team to level the following One Day International series against 2-2. Pressure never really showed upon him. Consequently he was praised and hailed by the authorities, as well as the experts for accomplishing this feat. However, surprisingly he
was replaced by Flintoff as captain for their following tour to Australia a couple of months later, where England received a drubbing of a lifetime, losing all five test matches.
In 2008, Vaughan was replaced by Kevin Pietersen as test captain, while Paul Collingwood skippered the team in 50-overs cricket as well as T20 internationals. After the home series against the touring, Collingwood was also replaced by Pietersen
as England’s ODI captain, while Collingwood continued to lead the team in 20-overs cricket. Pietersen found the job too hot to handle and hence he resigned after the away test series on Indian soil back in 2008.
This forced the selectors to once again appoint Collingwood as the ODI captain, but the best decision they took was the appointment of Strauss as the Test captain. This decision paid dividends as Strauss lead the team to Ashes glory in the English summer
of 2009. Strauss himself batted brilliantly and lead from the front as an opener, scoring a fantastic century as well against a sharp Australian bowling attack. Every decision he took paid off well for the team. Strauss was eventually named to replace Collingwood
as the One day captain as well.
In the summer of 2010, England under him defeated Australia 3-2 in the ODI series at home and after that, Strauss’ men won the home test series against Pakistan 3-1 in remarkable fashion, just after the Pakistan team had drawn level in a test series against in England. Strauss also captained the team to a 3-2 ODI win against Pakistan a month later. This great work carried into England’s Ashes tour of Australia where England clinched the Ashes series 3-1 in a spectacular fashion, proving their newly-found
dominance over their old rivals.
This forced Pietersen to say that England won the Ashes because he had resigned from captaincy and that Strauss took over.
Straight after the Ashes series, England lost the Commonwealth Bank series 6-1, which was a bad omen before the ICC World Cup 2011. At this year’s tournament, England fared badly, losing to minnows while barely managing to win a cliffhanger
against the at Chennai.
Strauss’ own batting performance was terrific, especially against, where he crossed 150 in a massive chasing effort. Strauss faced great trouble throughout the tournament with some of his prime players returning home due to injuries. Stuart Broad came
and then he went home due to injury trouble, Kevin Pietersen had to go back due to a hernia trouble and left the squad as well due to injury. As a last nail in the coffin, Michael Yardy returned to the United Kingdom due to “depression”.
Luck came to their rescue and England qualified for the quarter-finals. As it turned out and as predicted by experts, lost their quarter-final against the aggressive Sri Lankans at Colombo and hence would be having a flight back home. They will not
be welcomed back home with glee and warmth, but one thing is for sure, is that Andrew Strauss will not be the focus of criticism and the England and Wales Cricket Board will extend support to him, taking into consideration his past performances and leadership



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