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Cook can build on England’s new style: Strauss

Cook can build on England’s new style: Strauss

LONDON: England team director of cricket Andrew Strauss has backed Alastair Cook as the right man to lead the national team this summer and to adapt his captaincy to the style of cricket played against New Zealand in the recent ODI series that has recaptured the public’s imagination.

“I think Alastair is at a phase of his career where he is not afraid to try new things to try and get success,” said the former England captain.

“I know from my own experience that when you’ve been involved with English cricket for a long time it’s quite nice to have that sort of fresh change of thinking and I am sure he and Trevor [Bayliss] will forge a very strong partnership.”

Strauss would not be drawn on whether this will be Cook’s last series as captain although he did stop short of giving him his backing beyond this summer.

“At the moment, he is the right man for the job. None of us knows what’s going to happen over this five-Test series. It would be wrong for me to speculate but I do know that Alastair is incredibly motivated for this series and he is in a better frame of mind going in to it than he has been for a quite a while,” Strauss stated.

Strauss, who knows more than anyone how life as England captain evolves, believes that his Test captain recognises that there is a new style of cricket that England need to continue playing to be successful and to keep the public on side.

“I think everyone involved in English cricket got a real lift from the two series against New Zealand, in the way those games were played and the type of cricket England played. It made us all appreciate and understand the importance of engaging with the public.

“Ultimately, we are in the entertainment business and people have a choice whether they turn on cricket on television or go and watch a cricket match or do something different. We’ve got an obligation to make the product one that people want to watch.”

The last time Strauss sat down in front of the media things looked very different. He was under fire about Kevin Pietersen, for the way the sacking of Peter Moores was handled and in the shadow of England’s disastrous World Cup campaign.

Fast forward two months and things could not have really gone any better for him, his decision to back Eoin Morgan as ODI captain has already been vindicated by the attractive limited-overs matches against New Zealand.

Strauss is too classy to be smug but in a very short space of time he seems to have achieved at least one of his goals; reconnecting with the English cricket watching public.

Strauss was speaking at The Oval to promote Cricket for Heroes, an all-star T20 match in which he will playing alongside many other cricketing stars.

The match is being played to raise money for Help for Heroes and Strauss was keen to remind us, that despite all the pre-Ashes aggression, this is cricket not war.

“In the context of what we’re talking about today, it makes you realise it’s not about life and death, it’s games of cricket between two very passionate sides who want to desperately win. But I don’t think we need to build it into something it’s not. I think the war rhetoric when it comes to the Ashes is unhelpful.”

Published in Dawn, July 4th, 2015

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