It was my contention way back in 2006 that Andrew Strauss should have been appointed full time Test captain having guided England to a two (the Oval “victory” having been rescinded by the ICC after a review of the ball tampering affair that led to England being awarded the match) nil victory over Pakistan.
His captaincy in the Headingley Test proved the Middlesex man’s mettle as, despite conceding over 500 runs including a monumental partnership of 363 between Mohammed Yousuff and Younis Khan, Strauss didn’t panic or lose control in the field, led from the front with a fluent 116 to set Pakistan 323 to win and then managed his bowlers brilliantly in Tourists second innings getting the best out of Saj Mahmood (4/22) in particular to set up an unlikely win.
The selectors then inexplicably gave the Ashes Tour captaincy to Andrew Flintoff which seemed to destroy the left handers confidence resulting in Strauss having a disastrous time Down Under, although he wasn’t alone as England went down 5-0.
His poor run continued into 2007 and Strauss suffered the ignominy of being dropped for the Sri Lanka leg of England’s 2007/08 winter tours.
Salvation came in New Zealand when down the order, Strauss laid the platform for the series victory with 177 in England’s second innings.
Thus when Michael Vaughan relinquished the captaincy during the summer of 2008, Andrew Strauss must have been confident of being finally appointed on a permanent basis.
Credit to him, when Pietersen was the preferred choice the left hander overcame any disappointment he must have felt by taking part in a 123 partnership with Alistair Cook as England chased down an awkward 198 target on the fifth day at the Oval.
India was a personal triumph as Strauss completed back-to-back tons in stifling conditions at Chennai.
In the fallout from the KP/ Moores fiasco one positive has to be the ascent to the captaincy of Andrew Strauss, so out of adversity we may just have stumbled on the man who can regain the Ashes this summer.