I find it a tad irritating that Andrew Strauss’ retirement from all forms of international cricket is accredited to Graeme Smith and the Proteas.
If anyone cares to ask Graeme Smith he will probably say he respects Strauss immensely and that he will not take any credit for the former England captain’s resignation.
In 2003 the Proteas, captained by Smith, brought an unexpected end to the captaincy of Nasser Husain and in 2008 the scenario repeated itself when Smith and his touring party made life on the field unbearable for Michael Vaughan; also prompting him to retire as England’s captain.
Husain and Vaughan crumbled under the Protea pressure and opted out.
The South African born Strauss is as tough as nails and it is highly unlikely that he was demoralised by the South Africans to the extent that he ran for cover like his predecessors did.
There is nothing, not even remotely similar between Strauss’ retirement and that of Messrs Husain and Vaughan.
Strauss is probably right when he say his race is run and that his inability to score runs is a sign that he is past his best.
If Strauss says so I believe him; but I think his inability to contribute with the bat in recent times was a direct result of the immature and bizarre relationship between KP Pietersen and the England and Wales Cricket Board.
The intensity of the infighting between KP and the ECB, and there never-ending hate-love relationship, made it almost impossible for Strauss to focus on all his responsibilities and his batting paid the price.
If Strauss was not the decent person he is he would probably have told KP and the ECB to get stuffed and that he had enough of them.
Instead of shoving Hugh Morris, managing director of the ECB a finger for making the captaincy job almost impossible Strauss merely said his cheerios.
After the sms’ between KP and some of the Proteas and the pathetic manner Morris and the ECB dealt with it, reconciliation between KP and Strauss became impossible.
The ECB’s insistence that the contents of the sms’ should be made public by KP broadened the distrust Strauss developed in his team-mate.
It is general knowledge that Strauss placed trust between team-mates above all else and that the situation brought about by the Pietersen saga hurt and drained him.
Being the man he is, Strauss clearly decided that KP could not return under his captaincy. He realised that England need KP more than him and to pave the way for his former team-mate’s return to the England squad he had to retire as captain.
The scenario surrounding the resignation of Strauss is nothing less than a shame and definitely not a matter which the Proteas will rejoice in or claim responsibility for.
The appointment of Alistair Cook as captain was a formality but filling Strauss’ boots and realigning the team with the presence of KP will not be an easy task.
Cook would probably love not having KP around but with England all of a sudden in a rebuilding mode he cannot afford to ignore the South African batting genius.
It would boil down to cricketing suicide if Cook decides to take on the likes of India and the Australians without Strauss, KP, an established number 6 and probably also Graeme Swann.
In times to follow Cook will realise that the captaincy of England is not a doddle. He will find out that there is no one he can really trust or rely on for support when the team fails.
Because such is the nature of cricket in England: when the team fails the media, ECB and the public holds one person accountable; the captain.
Hamba Kahle Andrew Strauss. My wish for you is that you will again learn to enjoy the game of cricket, albeit as a spectator.