I’VE been one of Andrew Strauss’ biggest supporters since he took over the mantle as England captain. He took the reigns at a difficult time, yet brought togetherness to the side, eventually reclaiming the Ashes and leading his side to a creditable drawn series in South Africa.
But, for me, he has dropped an almighty clanger here.
His decision not to tour Bangladesh with the rest of the squad this month is inexplicable. His side are battered and bruised after a good going over by the South Africans in the final two Tests, so why on earth wouldn’t you want to lead from the front and help take them forward?
England have named a young side for the tour and, as captain, it’s vital you see first hand how your young players handle new situations, rather than hear it second hand.
Yorkshire seamer Ajmal Shahzad, Kent off-spinner James Tredwell and Hampshire’s Michael Carberry are all likely to make their international bows, and the skipper won’t be there to see it. If I was captain, I would have demanded to go.
Strauss will also be absent for the ICC World Twenty20 in the Caribbean after this tour – that gives him four months off before he joins up with the squad for the home Test matches with the Bangladeshis.
I suspect the same offer was made to Paul Collingwood, but, knowing Paul as I do, there was only ever one thought in his mind.
Colly is a year older than Strauss, has played exactly the same amount of cricket in recent months, and will also play in the Twenty20. But there was no way he was going to be stopped playing for England.
Unfortunately, the situation with James Anderson is quite different. He needs wrapping in cotton wool. I understand he needs knee surgery and I’ll be surprised to see him back before the Tests against Pakistan later in the summer.
It was great to see Eoin Morgan recognised for his talents in the IPL auction yesterday. Young Eoin could be the first of a new breed of cricketer who sets his stall out just to play limited-overs cricket.
It’s obviously where the money is, so good luck to him, I say.