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HE PAID HIS DUES, THE GOOD BLOKE BLUES
on 14 April 2015
Andrew Strauss appears on the cover here sans cricket gear, looking shy and contemplative. He is gone from the game, learning the ropes as a commentator and, oh God, setting up his business consultancy "focusing on leadership and perforrmance," working title "THINK HALF FULL." Motivation is doubtless the key. Captaincy has taught some important life lessons. After all, "as captain you are thrust into the limelight as never before." Late's face it, Strauss was never going to do a Chris Lewis and start bringing in narcotics from the Caribbean. Strauss is strictly prefect material.He got three As and a B at A Level at Radley before decamping to Durham. Go to Tuffers if you want bedroom high jinks. Go to KP if yoiu want diatribes and character assassination. Strauss is studiously diplomatic about Pietersen here. "I was completely shocked by his lack of contrition and his apparent hostility towards me", says Andrew of the bitter events of 2012 when his own captaincy came to an end as England succumbed to South Africa and KP became ever more complicated, aggrieved by the infamous spoof twitter account and reduced to calling Strauss "a doos". KP maintains that DOOS means 'idiot'. Strauss suggests otherwise, although did he not call KP something very vulgar a while back? So what else do we get from Straussy, skipper for three years plus in the tricky post-Duncan Fletcher era, architect of victories against Australia at home and away? We get a near-lyrical account of an early childhood in South Africa where his childhood revolved around township riots and police harassment (sorry - "school, outdoor activities and holidays within the country"). Parents were strict, but fair, and had a bob or two. The vignettes about arriving at Middlesex and antagonising senior pros with his public school ways are OK, if not Simon Hughes. Strauss is good on county cricket politics, what went wrong at Middlesex, how do you skipper Tuffers? At international level, there are some good insights into Duncan Fletcher and others. â€œI donâ€™t suppose we were ever likely to be bosom buddiesâ€, says Andrew of Freddie Flintoff, but none of the blistering critiques of the prats in charge of English cricket you get from Duncan Fletcher or Nasser Hussain. We get 30 pages of statistics at the back, too much for even the most earnest anorak. Not all Strauss's punditry is on the money. Looking ahead to the 2015 World Cup, he suggests:
"England are closer now to cracking the ODI conundrum than they have been at any stage over the last two decades." Not quite, Andrew.