Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Strauss All Set to Lead Battle for the Ashes; England Cricket Crisis

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Strauss All Set to Lead Battle for the Ashes; England Cricket Crisis

Article excerpt

Byline: DAVID LLOYD

ANDREW STRAUSS is the leading candidate to captain England when they try to defend the Ashes this winter, despite having led them to five straight defeats in recent weeks.

After eight months of making temporary appointments in the hope that Michael Vaughan would return, the selectors know their next decision could have a huge bearing on the team's chances in Australia.

With Vaughan going into hospital for a fourth knee operation next Monday, as first reported in yesterday's Evening Standard, it is time for coach Duncan Fletcher and Co to grasp the nettle. With Vaughan unlikely to be available before the summer of 2007, the selectors have to think beyond the forthcoming series against Pakistan.

Middlesex opener Strauss looks favourite because his workload is half that of allrounder Andrew Flintoff and, unlike the country's favourite cricketer, he can take over immediately.

Flintoff, resting an ankle injury while England have lost a Twenty20 match and four oneday internationals against Sri Lanka under Strauss, may not be fit for the First Test in a fortnight from now and making him skipper on anything more than a stand-in basis might be asking too much of a cricketer they already expect to win matches through his all-round efforts. …

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