Andrew Strauss, ECB director of cricket, is all set to “step back” from his role to be with his ailing wife who is being treated for cancer. Ruth, Strauss’ wife, will begin the second phase of cancer treatment at the end of the week. In Strauss’ absence, England Lions coach Andy Flower will take the role.
The former England captain was appointed to the role in May 2015. In December last year, he returned home early from the Ashes to be with his family when his wife was diagnosed with the disease. The first treatment went well but the second is more challenging. And not surprisingly, Strauss has decided to dedicate his full time to his wife and family during this stage.
Strauss confirmed the news and stated that he is looking forward to resuming his role again once the treatment finishes.
“My wife was diagnosed with cancer in December. We’re very lucky she has been very well up till now. Although, she is starting a new treatment on Friday that is going to be more challenging for her. As such, I am going to be stepping back from my day-to-day duties while that treatment is going on.
“Andy Flower is going to be stepping in for me over the course of the summer. We all know about his qualities and his experience of England and English cricket. I look forward to returning once the treatment has finished and grabbing the reins again. But, I hope you appreciate that for this period of time my focus needs to be supporting Ruth and my family at this challenging time,” Strauss said.
Flower, meanwhile, will be England’s acting director of cricket for at least the next three months. The former Zimbabwe batsman is no stranger to English cricket. He had enjoyed unparalleled success as the England head coach. Flower, who was the England technical director between 2009 and 2014, guided England to number one in the Test rankings. Under him, England sealed historic series wins in India and Australia.
Strauss further shed light on England’s performance in Tests last winter. While they managed to impress in white-ball cricket, winning ODI series in Australia and New Zealand, defeats in Tests left the team management a lot to worry about. The off-field incidents had also marred England’s tours. And Strauss made it clear that the midnight curfew, brought in after a series of trivial yet unprofessional drunken misdemeanours in Australia, will still be in place.
“We have learned a lot of lessons over the winter. We have sharpened up with the way we deal with things. Players are clear about what is expected of them while on England duty and I reaffirmed that today when I spoke to the players,” said Strauss. “It (curfew) is one thing the players got used to over the course of the winter. We are a high performance environment and guys being professional about how they prepare for games is not something that should be frowned upon, it should be expected of players.”
“I think there is definitely an opportunity to look at that a bit more creatively. It is very hard for one coach to coach all formats. It is possible and most other teams go down that route but we play more cricket than anyone else, we play more cricket than anyone else and that is something we will definitely be looking at as part of that process,” he added.
England play Pakistan and India in Test and limited-overs series this summer and also play a five-match one-day international series and one-off Twenty20 against Australia.