Strauss quits as England cricket captain as season unravels

English cricket is finally making headlines, but it is for all the wrong reasons

LAST UPDATED AT 10:11 ON Wed 29 Aug 2012

EDITOR'S NOTE, 12.10PM: Andrew Strauss has announced his retirement from all forms of cricket with immediate effect. He said it was "in the best interests of the England cricket team and myself to step down at this stage". Alastair Cook has been installed as Test captain and will now lead the Test and one-day teams.

RAIN and the Olympics have conspired to keep English cricket out of the limelight for much of this summer, but as the season draws to a close it looks as though the sport has found a way to grab the limelight, by pressing the self-destruct button.

It is expected that Andrew Strauss will today cap an awful few weeks for England by standing down as captain at a hastily arranged press conference called by the ECB late last night

Things have gone rapidly downhill for England this season. After overcoming the challenge of the West Indies and a below-par Australian one day team early in the season, the wheels fell off once the South Africans arrived in the country.

England's much-vaunted bowling attack was suddenly made to look mediocre in the first Test, as South Africa lost only two wickets on their way to a resounding innings victory. Then, during the second match of the series, star batsman Kevin Pietersen was accused of sending insulting text messages about Strauss and other members of the England set up to the opposition.

The fault-lines running through the England dressing room were completely exposed by the affair and Pietersen was expelled from the squad. Without him England's batting suddenly looked threadbare and they went on to lose the third Test and with it their number one status in the rankings.

Yesterday, their run of ten straight one-day wins came to an end as they lost the first one-day international to the tourists, and once again lost their number one ranking. But that has been overshadowed by the likelihood of Strauss quitting as Test captain.

"What previously seemed unthinkable now seems all too possible – that Strauss, one of the most successful captains in England's recent history, after winning Ashes series at home and away, has decided to step down," reports The Guardian.

It would mark the end of an era says The Daily Telegraph, which adds: "Strauss's resignation after three years in the job would also be the latest extraordinary twist in the Kevin Pietersen saga which has rocked England's set-up over the past two weeks."

There will be little time for England to regroup if they are left without their leader. There is a tour of India coming up before Christmas and decisions about who will fill the void.

"If Strauss resigns and continues playing, that at least means there is some experienced batting going [to India]," said Jonathan Agnew of the BBC. "If he resigns and doesn't carry on playing, can England go to India with three inexperienced batsman at two, five and six without Pietersen being there?" · 

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