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Strauss retires from captaincy and from cricket

Andrew Strauss shocked English cricket by announcing his retirement from cricket. Rumours had suggested he was ready to give up the England captaincy but the news that he was giving up playing completely came as a major surprise.

Strauss read a statement at his press conference: "After much thought over the last few weeks, I have decided to step down as England Test Captain and announce my retirement from all forms of cricket. It has clearly been a tough decision to make, but I believe that it is both in the best interests of the England cricket team and myself to step down at this stage."

There was speculation that Strauss’s decision was influenced by the recent dispute with Kevin Pietersen. Pietersen was left out of the England side after it was revealed that he had sent texts to South African players that included a derogatory reference to the captain. Strauss denied that had any bearing on his decision. "Not in any way. I've been thinking about it for a while. It hasn't been a consideration at all for me."

As captain Strauss has presided over the most successful England side of the modern era. England won Ashes series in England and Australia and whitewashed India 4-0 in last summer’s series. Under his captaincy England attained the number one Test nation status that was recently surrendered to South Africa.

The player to succeed Strauss as captain is Alastair Cook, already captain of the 50-over one day side. The controversy surrounding Strauss and Pietersen has rather overshadowed a recent run of mediocre form from Cook. The burden of the captaincy is hardly likely to help him recover the brilliance that destroyed Australia in the last Ashes.

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