England dance to Strauss Waltz
.... after Pietersen quits :
Andrew Strauss has been given the task of trying to unify the England
cricket team after being appointed as captain for the tour of the West
Indies following fellow South African-born Kevin Pietersen’s
Even by the standards of English cricket, Wednesday was a dramatic
day with both Pietersen and coach Peter Moores quitting their posts.
England cricket managing director Hugh Morris indicated there was
little alternative after the “irretrievable breakdown” of Pietersen and
Moores’s working relationship.
Pietersen, who like Strauss was born in South Africa, had questioned
the ability of Moores - who never played international cricket himself -
as a coach in a dispute which became public just weeks before England
depart on January 21 for their Caribbean tour.
Who will be the coach on that trip, and indeed when Australia arrive
for this year’s Ashes, was still unclear Wednesday.
Morris merely told a hastily-convened news conference at The Oval the
backroom set-up would be announced “as soon as possible”.
The former Test batsman, who refused to take questions, said in a
statement: “I have an extremely high respect and regard for Kevin
Pietersen but this has become an impossible situation given the
irretrievable breakdown of the relationship between captain and coach.”
Pietersen, only appointed captain in August and who led the team for
just three Tests, said in his own statement issued earlier on Wednesday:
“I consider it would be extremely difficult for me to continue my
current position with the England cricket team. “Accordingly I have as
of this afternoon decided to stand down as England captain with
immediate effect,” added star batsman Pietersen, due to return to
England from a holiday in South Africa on Thursday.
However, the 28-year-old stressed: “Notwithstanding my resignation as
England captain I fully intend to be part part of both England’s Test
and One-Day International squad to tour the West Indies next month, and
to do all I can to recapture the Ashes during the summer.
“I’m extremely sad and disappointed to have to relinquish the
captaincy at such an early stage... particularly when I feel that I have
had much more to offer the England team as captain.”
Strauss stood in as England captain in 2006 when Michael Vaughan was
injured and the former Middlesex skipper led the side to a series win
But he was controversially stripped of the captaincy for the
subsequent tour of Australia.
Strauss lost form as England relinquished the Ashes 5-0 and, after a
run of low scores, was dropped from the squad for the tour of Sri Lanka
in 2007 before regaining his Test place in New Zealand last year.
- LONDON, Thursday AFP