Strauss has retired with grace

first_imgCricketwallah by Ayaz MemonIn a year marked with retirements of major players- some spontaneous, some forced- Andrew Strauss’s has been the most enigmatic and perhaps also the most significant. More than anything else, it shows how vulnerable cricket captains are in the modern game.True, Strauss lost the Test series and England the world number 1 ranking to South Africa. In an age when success is demanded at every step, and past records gather cobwebs once day turns into night, this setback was always going to hurt Strauss.It must be remembered that England had also lost a Test series 0-3 to Pakistan in the Middle East a few months back, so their fall from the top position had been as dramatic as India’s, though this may not have been reflected in the rankings. The fact that the current defeats came at home, where most England fans believed their team was invincible, would have been doubly troubling for Strauss: this, as also his own personal form which has waned more often than waxed since the Ashes victory last year.Yet, Strauss seemed to be under no immediate threat to relinquish his position.The selectors were still unwavering in their support, and the establishment had been solidly behind him in the controversy involving star batsman Kevin Pietersen.What makes a captain take such a drastic call is something that still daunts cricket academics. Retirement for a sportsperson- with its accompanying insecurities and loss of identity- is always a vexing issue.For a cricket captain it is even more excruciating because it also means- apart from all else, tremendous loss of power. No other sport vests so much authority in a captain.advertisementSome captains are gross misfits, some let others call the shots, some blunder along till they are replaced. There are only a few who- once they accept the job- make it their purpose in life.Strauss was clearly from the last category which makes his retirement both perplexing and admirable. But unless there is some diabolical reason for Strauss to quit which could be overturned, this seems highly improbable. As things stand, one can only say, “Well played sir!”last_img

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