Andrew Strauss unenviable task of healing Englands rifts and improving results

January 8th, 2009 - 1:29 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Jan 8 (ANI): Englands new cricket captain Andrew Strauss has tough tasks on hand of getting his teammates united in the present scenario and make the team perform as it has scored victories only against lower-ranked opponents in the last 18 months.

Strauss has two immediate tasks on the tour to the West Indies that starts on January 21, outside of improving results, and both are interwoven: To reintegrate Pietersen into the team after what has been a massive blow to his ego, and to heal the dressing-room divisions, The Times reported.

Before making his recommendations to the board, Managing Director of England cricket Hugh Morris canvassed opinion among the players, and while he found universal admiration for Pietersens greatness as a player, such sentiments did not extend to his personality or leadership, the paper said.

It is no secret that Andrew Flintoff does not like Pietersen. Flintoff, although no longer harbouring leadership ambitions, carries a good number of players along with him, while Strauss has been known to query if not Pietersens actions, then certainly his motives.

So when Pietersen flexed his muscles by effectively demanding coach Peter Mooress removal, there was little support.

Strauss now has the unenviable task of trying to harness his two biggest names and two biggest match-winners for the benefit of the team. If he does not do that, his tenure, like Pietersens, will be a short one, the paper said.

This, according to the report, will not be easy, now that Pietersen has been made aware that he did not carry the dressing room as he thought he did. And now that everyone else knows this, too, this is a very public humiliation for him.

Pietersen will feel diminished next time he walks into the dressing-room and he will also feel personally let down by the likes of Flintoff and Stephen Harmison, players he made a great show of showering praise on when he accepted the job. When an ego as big as Pietersens is punctured in such a spectacular way, who knows what the consequences?

Yesterday, Strauss was given two pieces of good news in his quest to bring some ballast to this listing ship. First, Pietersen reaffirmed in the strongest possible terms, according to ECB sources, his desire to represent England in all forms of the game. Pietersen needs the kudos that international cricket brings and he is smart enough to know that without it, his value would quickly shrink.

Second, Strauss has a much better chance of getting Pietersen onside now that Moores has been relieved of his duties.

The departure, then, of Moores and Pietersen from positions of responsibility could strengthen England in the medium term, the report concludes. (ANI)

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