By Simon Edmunds
For any sportsman or woman, being chosen to lead or captain your country must surely be the highest accolade that can be bestowed on any individual and quite probably the pinnacle of anybody’s sporting career.
However, choosing when to step down, or leave that post, on your own terms, in your own time, rather than being asked or told to go, is surely the mark of a person who truly understands their role and responsibilities as the captain of their national team.
When Andrew Strauss took over as England captain, did he believe that he could take the English cricket team to No.1 in the world? Probably. Strauss is undoubtably a great leader of men. It is well documented that he has the ability to galvanize a group of individuals and bring them together as a team. He has always had the utmost respect from those who have served under him, this respect will have been earned more than demanded I’m sure.
Strauss’s tenure as captain has left England fans with some fantastic memories, back to back ashes victories home and away is not something to be sniffed at, It was a truly great achievement. Consecutive series victories that took England to the summit of test playing nations is also something not many of us can say we have seen before. But for me, his greatness is not measured by results, but by the nature of the man himself.
Always quick to praise the exploits of others. Never belittling or criticising the opposition or his own team, regardless of the result. Always positive in his pre and post match comments, he is a truly great man.
His end is a dignified one, he can leave with his head held high, knowing that his behaviour during his time as captain has been exemplary, he can never be criticised for the way he has handled himself on or off the pitch, not something that can be said of everyone.
I will not mention statistics because this for me is not about numbers, it is about the man himself. He has chosen himself to step down, he has not waited for others to tell him to leave and that for me just reiterates his stature in the game, there will be many opposition players, (especially aussies,) glad to see him leave, but they will surely raise a glass and toast one of the greatest England captains of the modern era.
Goodbye Andrew Strauss, and thank you so very, very much.
Another Edmunds Edition.