Strauss announces retirement
England Test captain Andrew Strauss has announced his retirement from professional cricket with immediate effect.
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The 35-year-old Middlesex and England opening batsman - who led England to two Ashes victories and to the top of the Test rankings - is retiring after 14 years in the professional game.
Strauss will be replaced as Test captain by Alastair Cook who will also continue to lead the one-day side.
"After much thought over the last few weeks, I have decided to step down as England Test Captain and announce my retirement from all forms of cricke," said Strauss.
"It has clearly been a tough decision to make, but I believe that it is both in the best interests of the England cricket team and myself to step down at this stage.
"I am extremely proud of everything I have achieved as a cricketer, and I have found myself very fortunate to play in an era when some of English cricket's greatest moments have occurred.
"I have loved every minute of it. All that remains is for me to wish Andy, Alastair and the rest of the team the very best for the coming months. I will be an interested spectator."
Strauss insisted this summer's controversy involving Kevin Pietersen had nothing to do with his decision.
"No, not in anyway, I've been speaking about it for a while. I first spoke to Andy (Flower) about it prior to the Kevin Pietersen incident rearing its head, it just hasn't been a consideration at all.
"I first spoke to Andy about this a few weeks ago and said I'm considering it and would talk to him at end of the (South Africa) series, by the time I spoke to him again my mind was made up and I think he knew that."
He added: "It's a very tough decision. For me the driver to it all quite frankly was my form with the bat. In truth I haven't battled well enough for a long time now.
"I think for a captain to perform his role properly, it's important you're not a passenger in the side, but also that people aren't speculating as to whether you should be in the side or not. I think that would have been too big a distraction to the side going forward.
"It's a hugely sad moment in many ways."
Regarding his future plans, Strauss admits he would love to be involved in cricket in some capacity in the future.
Asked about his next step, he said: "That's always a difficult question to answer, I've got some ideas, some things I'd like to get involved in.
"I think long-term I'd like to have some more challenges ahead of me in whatever it is I do, but I'm going to take a bit of time to think about what exactly that means and what that might be.
"And while I'm taking that time I'm looking forward to spending some time with my family and probably getting my golf handicap down a bit as well.
"I would love to stay involved in the game, I'm hugely passionate about the game, I feel like I've got more to offer the game at some stage in the future but in what capacity I've got no idea."
Strauss made his England debut in a one day international against Sri Lanka in 2003 and was awarded his Test cap a year later in 2004 against New Zealand scoring a century on debut.
The England opener has gone on to win 100 Test caps captaining the side in 50 of those Tests, 124 ODI caps and four T20 caps in an international career that has spanned 11 years. He has scored 21 Test centuries and six ODI centuries.
David Collier, ECB Chief Executive, commented: "On behalf of the ECB and everyone involved in cricket I'd like to thank Andrew Strauss for his outstanding contribution to the game.
"Andrew has been a highly successful captain and opening batsman for Middlesex and England who will be remembered for leading the side to two Ashes victories and to the top of the test rankings.
"He has shown tremendous integrity, dedication and commitment both on and off the field and under his leadership the side has grown immeasurably and reached new levels of professionalism.
"Andrew's calmness and authority when dealing with some of the most difficult moments in our sport in recent times should be applauded and I have no doubt that his contribution as an ambassador for the game will be recognised by anyone who has had an opportunity to spend time with him.
"His legacy within the game will be felt for many years to come and we now need to continue to build on the progress we have made under his leadership.
"I would like to congratulate Alastair on becoming Test captain. He has shown he has the traits needed to be a successful captain and has demonstrated his leadership capabilities as one day captain over the last 16 months.
"On behalf of the ECB I would like to wish Alastair and Andy Flower all the very best for the exciting challenges that lie ahead."
Cook, currently leading England in a one-day series against South Africa, faces his first tour as skipper later this year when they travel to India.
"Andrew's contribution to England cricket in recent years is evident to everyone who follows the sport but only those of us who have been lucky enough to share a dressing room with him are fully aware of his immense contribution to our success," said 27-year-old Cook, Strauss' opening partner who has played 83 Tests for England and took over as one-day captain last year.
"He has been a fantastic captain, has led from the front for three and a half years and is a true ambassador for the game.
"To have played 100 Tests for your country is a phenomenal achievement and I want to congratulate him on a superb career. I know this can't have been an easy decision for him and everyone in the dressing room will be sad to see him go.
"I'm very excited by this new challenge, it is a huge honour to be appointed Test captain and am very much looking forward to captaining the side in India this winter and beyond but my immediate focus is on this current NatWest one day series.
"Once the series is over I will turn my attention to the Test captaincy and building on the work Andrew has started."
"I think for a captain to perform his role properly, it's important you're not a passenger in the side, but also that people aren't speculating as to whether you should be in the side or not. I think that would have been too big a distraction to the side going forward. It's a hugely sad moment in many ways."
Manager Director of England Cricket, Hugh Morris, said that he would meet with Pietersen and team director Andy Flower in the coming weeks.
Flower has called on Pietersen to divulge the contents of the texts as the first major step towards welcoming him back into the squad.
"What we will be doing is myself and Andy Flower will meet with Kevin and we will be doing that in due course," he said.
"We are where we are and we will be seeking those discussions and they will be behind closed doors."
Morris was more forthcoming in his tributes for Strauss who, after taking over as Test skipper from Pietersen following his public rift with former coach Peter Moores in 2009, steered England to one of their most prosperous periods.
"He has been a great servant for Middlesex County Cricket Club and England and an outstanding ambassador for the game, not just in England but across the world," he said.
"Andrew's influence and impact on England cricket should be measured in much more that runs and catches. In partnership with England team director Andy Flower he has brought remarkable leadership and direction to the England team and has presided over one of the most successful periods in our cricket history.
"He will always be remembered for leading England to back-to-back Ashes victories and to the top of the ICC world Test rankings.
"I would like to thank Andrew for his enormous contribution to the England cricket team and for cricket in England and Wales."
Andrew Strauss highs and lows
May 2004: Makes 112 on his Test debut, against New Zealand on his home ground of Lord's, and adds 83 in the second innings.
December 2004-January 2005: Makes 656 runs in the Test series against South Africa, including 126 and 94 in a seven-wicket win at Port Elizabeth.
July-September 2005: Scores two centuries in the series win as England beat Australia to win the Ashes.
March 2008: Makes Test-best 177 against New Zealand to answer critics who questioned his place in the team.
January 2009: Appointed as England Test captain after Kevin Pietersen steps down.
July-August 2009: Leads England to Ashes victory and is named England's player of the series after top-scoring with 474 runs at 52.66.
November 2010-January 2011: England win their second Ashes series under Strauss' leadership, this time in Australia. Strauss scores the first of the tourists' nine centuries, in the second innings of the first Test.
February 2011: Makes his best one-day international score, 158, in tied World Cup game against India, though he then retires from the format after England's quarter-final exit.
August 2011: England reach number one in the ICC Test rankings with a 4-0 series win over India.
November 2006: Overlooked for Ashes captaincy in favour of Andrew Flintoff. England lose the series 5-0 and Strauss makes just 247 runs in 10 innings, with only a solitary half-century.
2007: Dropped for winter tour of Sri Lanka after seven Tests without a century against the West Indies and India.
February 2009: Strauss' reign as captain begins with an innings defeat to the West Indies after England are bowled out for 51 at Sabina Park. They go on to lose the series despite three centuries from Strauss.
August 2010: Series win over Pakistan is overshadowed by the spot-fixing row enveloping the tourists.
June 2011: Scores just 27 runs in three Tests against Sri Lanka.
July-August 2012: Scores just 107 runs in three Tests as South Africa beat England 2-0 to replace them as world number one. Strauss' 100th Test, and 50th as captain, is overshadowed by controversy surrounding Kevin Pietersen.
August 29 2012: Retires from all forms of cricket.