REACTION: Essex’s Alastair Cook is new England captain as Strauss retires

ENGLAND captain Andrew Strauss has retired from all forms of cricket with immediate effect and will be replaced as national skipper by Alastair Cook.

The Middlesex batsman, who skippered England to the number one Test berth in the world, will be replaced by Essex’s Cook.

Strauss guided England to two Ashes victories over Australia but series defeats to Pakistan and South Africa this year, on home soil, saw the team lose their number one status.

“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,” Strauss said.

“The driver to it all was my form with the bat, I have not played well enough for a long time now. I know with my own energy levels that I had run my race.

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“This is not been something that occurred overnight. It’s been a gradual feeling that’s happened over the last six or 12 months or so and I would very much like to go out on my own terms with my head held high.

“I achieved far more than I ever thought I was going too and that makes me feel very proud.”

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Strauss has had to deal with off the pitch issues surrounding Kevin Pietersen and the South African-born batsman’s alleged criticism of the 35-year-old to South Africa players via text messages.

However, Strauss denied the Pietersen affair had any bearing on his decision.

“I first spoke to Andy Flower a few weeks ago and told him I was considering it and by the time I spoke to him again my mind was made up,” said Strauss.

“It’s a hugely sad moment saying goodbye to team mates and Andy in particular. In truth I wrote letters to the players yesterday and I have not spoken to them.

“I have been thinking about this for a while, before the Kevin Pietersen incident reared its head.”

Pietersen’s international future remains in the air, with the player not being considered for selection at the moment, and Flower, along with managing director, Hugh Morris will hold talks with the Surrey player in the coming weeks.

Essex batsman Cook gave his views on Strauss: “It feels like I have spent all my England career walking out to bat with him (Strauss) and that is a huge hole to fill.

“We have all seen Straussy as our leader but we have got huge challenges ahead and I am inheriting a side in a very good state.

“I know the players will be driving to get the England team back up to the top again.”

For more reaction, see tomorrow’s Archant publications.

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