Jan 9, 2009

Sport - Cricket;England captain Strauss says he is right man for job

Andrew Strauss said on Thursday he was the right man to lead England out of the turmoil surrounding the resignation of captain Kevin Pietersen and the sacking of coach Peter Moores.

The Middlesex batsman was introduced as England's new captain at Lord's and he told reporters he had some sympathy for Pietersen, who quit after less than six months as skipper following a fall-out with Moores.

Strauss said he had to think carefully about his decision to take over when approached by England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) chiefs on Wednesday.

"The reality is somebody has got to captain the side and I believe I can do the job," said the left-hander. "I think I'm the right person at this stage and it's important now that there's leadership."

Strauss said he had already held talks with Pietersen.

"It was very important I spoke to Kevin about my reasons for taking the job and be clear with him on my take on things," he said. "I do feel some sympathy for him because he felt he was doing what was right.

"He had a vision of where he felt England cricket needed to go and he backed himself to deliver that and was not worried about upsetting a few people on the way.

"I personally don't think he should be vilified for that."

South African-born Pietersen's relationship with Moores came to a head on the recent tour of India, creating an "impossible situation" according to the ECB.

Strauss said Pietersen would remain fully committed to playing for England.

"I've spoken to Kevin a couple of times already and he has been very supportive," said Strauss, who had a brief taste of captaining England in 2006 when Michael Vaughan was injured.


"He's obviously got some stuff to deal with at the moment but I know him well, he's a good mate of mine. He has said he will support me and I truly believe he means it."

Pietersen's popularity among some of his team mates has been widely questioned in the media in the wake of the events that have stunned English cricket but Strauss said he would be welcomed into the dressing room.

"He is a vital part of the team and we need to make sure he is comfortable within the team environment and any issues that need to be dealt with are dealt with," Strauss said.

"Towards the back end of the India tour there were signs Kevin and Peter weren't getting on as well as they possibly could. It's clear you need a captain and a coach to have a good working relationship, that's the crux of it."

The ECB has plenty of decisions to make as England prepare for a busy year that includes next month's tour to West Indies, a home series against the same opposition and the Ashes tests against Australia.

Firstly they must find a replacement for Moores and decide if Strauss will also captain the one-day side despite him not being included in recent squads.

"When a full-time coach is selected it's important I sit down and discuss what my views are on how the team can go forward," he said. "I've got some quite strong views on that."

Strauss will discuss the one-day captaincy with ECB chiefs on Friday.

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