I was lucky enough to watch him bat live at Lord's on the first occasion for England, Friday 21st May 2004 against New Zealand. The morning was lit up by a scintillating 82 from Chris Cairns, but a typical Strauss knock full of cuts and clips off the legs, brought up a fantastic hundred just before the close.
He then went to South Africa, and scored a hundred on his debut abroad as well, only the seventh man in history to accomplish this feat, home and away. The Ashes of 2005 made Strauss a legend in the eyes of most English cricket fans, with a fine hundred at Old Trafford and who will ever forget that diving catch to dismiss the dangerous Gilchrist at Trent Bridge?
However it is as a captain, we will remember Andrew Strauss. It is a credit to Middlesex that they have produced two of the finest captains of English cricket in Mike Brearley and Strauss. Yes, he really should be mentioned in the same breath.
England were a shambles when he and Andy Flower took over. Dissent was rife in the ranks, Pietersen losing a coach his job, and getting bowled all out for 51 in Jamaica, we forget how poor we actually were. Together the two Andrews, picked up the pieces, and put a smile on the face of English cricket again. Back to back Ashes wins, and leading your country to world number one haven't exactly been a common occurrence for English skippers, have they?
|Back to back Ashes and world number one|
At the press conference today, Strauss sat alongside his protege, and another gentleman Alistair Cook, and Hugh Morris, all three left handed openers, resplendent in their maroon ties. Cook said, "that he had huge boots to fill, and it is an exciting time". He will no doubt be a success, and is another who is selfless. Moving on, I would like to see Joe Root take on the opening berth.
However, this is all about Strauss, and definitely not KP, who he was quick to say had nothing to do with his decision, rather a gradual decision over the last six to twelve months, and that he hasn't batted well enough. Honest to the end.
He also mentioned his team mates had clubbed together to buy him a hundred bottles of wine to celebrate his hundredth test, which will furnish him well in retirement. Another sign of respect, and Andrew you deserve them.
|The man they call Levi celebrates one of his twenty one Test tons|
Finally, he was asked, "How will you want your career to be remembered?" He replied, "Firstly, I hate that question, but that I have played the game the right way, and have adhered to my principles".
Andrew Strauss, you most certainly have. The Middle Stump salutes you.