Andrew Strauss is one of the most respected and highly rated cricketers in the world, attributes that were finally recognised by the England and Wales Cricket Board in January 2009 when they named him as England captain following the resignation of Kevin Pietersen. It is not the first time Strauss has captained England. As a stand-in for the injured Michael Vaughan and Andrew Flintoff he had led England in four Tests and 13 one–day internationals before his permanent appointment.
Strauss has gained international recognition for the way in which he continues to conduct himself both on and off the field. With bat in hand the 32-year-old has forged the reputation of being a brave, resourceful and dependable opener. As a batsman he leads by example, making valuable contributions in tricky situations when his side needs them most. In the five years since making his Test debut he has never shirked responsibility, working tirelessly at his game and regularly giving the England team the platform it requires at the start of a Test innings.
Off the field Strauss has done an enormous amount to promote the game too. When dealing with supporters and the media he is always polite, honest and happy to give of his time. His image may not be as sexy as that of Pietersen or Flintoff but as a man there are few cricketers who match him.
Strauss began his Test career in magnificent style against New Zealand in 2004 when he became only the fourth batsman to score a hundred on Test debut at Lord's. He looked set to create history in the second innings of the Test, reaching 83 before Nasser Hussain ran him out. Further centuries followed in the first Test of series against West Indies and South Africa, performances that highlighted his ability and willingness to grab hold of situations and set the tone when it was needed most. In South Africa he became the joint second fastest England batsman to score 1,000 Test runs, achieving the feat in only his tenth match, one more than Herbert Sutcliffe.
In 2005 Strauss played a pivotal role in England's Ashes victory. It was Pietersen's magnificent 158 in England's second innings at The Oval that grabbed most of the headlines but the performance of Strauss, who scored an invaluable 129 in the first innings, should not be forgotten. Had he not kept out Glenn McGrath, Shane Warne and Brett Lee when they were at their freshest Pietersen's heroic effort would have had little bearing on the fate of the Ashes. The triumph earned Strauss an MBE.
Strauss was born in Johannesburg on 2 March 1977 but the family spent only six years in South Africa before moving to England through his father's work. In England the Strauss family based themselves in the Beaconsfield area and Andrew was initially educated at Caldicott School, Farnham Royal. He then moved to Radley College, Oxfordshire, where his cricket blossomed under the tutelage of Andy Wagner, before migrating to Durham University.
Wagner made Middlesex aware of his potential and Strauss made his first-class debut for the county in 1998, scoring 83 against Hampshire. It did not take him long to establish himself in the Middlesex team and in 2001 he passed 1,000 first-class runs in a summer for the first time. In 2002 Strauss replaced the retiring Angus Fraser as Middlesex captain, guiding the club to promotion to the first division of the County Championship in his first season in charge.
Strauss' first blip as a Test cricketer came in 2007 when he was left out of England's pre-Christmas tour of Sri Lanka. He was recalled for the 2008 tour of New Zealand where he posted a career-best 177 in Napier. The innings failed to convince some of his doubters that he was back to his best but even they had to admit he still had what it takes when the following winter he became the tenth England batsman to score a hundred in each innings of a Test in Chennai before Christmas.
In October 2003 he married Ruth McDonald and the couple have two sons: Sam, born on 4 December 2005, and Luca, born on 14 July 2008.
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