Strauss will call tune
Graham Thorpe says a composed Andrew Strauss is capable of uniting the England dressing room.
Last Updated: 08/01/09 4:23pm
Graham Thorpe says Andrew Strauss's chequered Test career makes him the ideal person to take over from Kevin Pietersen as England captain and unite the dressing room.
Strauss burst onto the international stage, scoring 112 and 83 in his Test debut in 2004, and then led England to a home Test series win over Pakistan in 2006.
But he endured a disappointing 2006/07 Ashes series and was dropped for the subsequent tour to Sri Lanka before battling back to regain his place early in 2008 and going on to score two centuries in the first Test against India in November when his place was again under threat.
"Having been in the same dressing room as Andrew Strauss, I have no doubt he can do the job," Thorpe told Sky Sports News.
"He is an impressive character. He backed Kevin Pietersen and also said that the team needs to sit down and have an open talk to thrash out some of the differences.
"I believe that he is a stronger character having been through what he has as a player over the last few years. He's been out of the side and has had to fight his way back into it. He values playing for England.
"No matter what he feels inside about the way Kevin Pietersen has handled himself over the last few days he's come out and publicly backed him. He knows how vital Pietersen is as a player to score runs but also you know that if the dressing room is not fully behind him he is going to pick players up on it.
"He has stepped in before but now he has a blank piece of paper to sit down with the England management and selectors to say how he wants things run."
Pietersen has already expressed his desire to slot back into the England ranks as a captain and Thorpe believes the former skipper can enjoy a prolific career so long as he makes the effort to integrate.
"Yesterday, I thought where does this leave him as a player?" said Thorpe. "His ego will have been punctured massively. He will wake up today not as England captain. Will he be angry? Will he feel let down by some of the players who he'd backed not so long ago?
"What he's got to remember now are the reasons why he started to play cricket in the first place. If he goes back and is a difficult player to handle in the dressing room Andrew Strauss will have to tell him 'this is my dressing room now'.
"Within that dressing room you need everyone together. I hope that Kevin is able to take a few steps back from this and say I want to be the best player I can be.
"If he can do that he has got a very long career in front of him, if not it is going to raise some question marks about how long he is going to play cricket for England."
It remains unclear whether Strauss, who has not played a one-day international since the 2007 World Cup, will win back a place in the limited overs squad but Thorpe believes the left-hander should be allowed to unite the England captaincy.
"You'd assume Andrew Strauss believes he should be involved in the one-day set-up, so you have to either just add him to the set-up or do you take somebody out? Where does he fit into that one-day side? I think he can still play in that one-day side. In terms of a like-for-like player you can compare him to Ian Bell, so he should be in."