- England news
Strauss confident of captaincy
Andrew Strauss has underlined his belief that he still has plenty left to offer in his role as England cricket captain, despite his position having come under scrutiny in recent months.
Strauss' batting display came in for criticism in the recent Test series in Sri Lanka as the 35-year-old bore the brunt of the reaction, but he believes his credentials for the captaincy remain as strong as ever.
"Well nobody is beyond criticism. I didn't feel, I don't feel, that the talk of me finishing after that game was right," Strauss said in an interview with The Times. "I can't agree with that, but those are the things you have to deal with as an England player.
"I hate my players having to come out and defend me; as a captain you want to feel that you are one of the first names on the team-sheet, so that has been very frustrating. But I was so determined, and feel very determined to take the team further."
Strauss continued: "You never know when you are going to be tested as a captain. These things can hit you unawares, and it probably won't happen more than once or twice but they can have a massive effect on how you are perceived as a captain and how your team is perceived.
"Cricket offers a captain a unique opportunity to make decisions that resonate further afield. One of my great strengths in those situations is my ability to stay calm and think clearly, which is not necessarily the case with some of my players."
The whitewash against Pakistan added weight to calls for a reconsideration of Strauss' position, but he believes the experience will only add to the strength of the England side.
"Individuals win matches but the only thing I could do this winter was to make sure that it wasn't swept under the carpet," he said. "The best thing we did was to sit down after the Abu Dhabi Test and say, 'Lads, this is not good enough; we've got to sort this out.' I am convinced that we made big strides this winter even if the statistics don't reflect that. Next time we go to that part of the world we will do much better."
Looking ahead to the future, Strauss is fully focused on leading England into the Ashes challenge in 2013.
"That ambition hasn't changed but I've always qualified that by saying you never know what is around the corner tomorrow never mind in six months' time," he stated. "One thing this winter has taught me is how quickly pressure can build so it's probably not sensible thinking too far ahead."