Andrew Strauss, not so long ago, was a model of reliability as an opening batsman. Though seldom spectacular, he made the most of his somewhat minimalistic game. His phlegmatic temperament and fondness of scoring square of the wicket evoked comparisons with his former Middlesex team-mate Justin Langer.
Now, however, he appears to have been found out. It is clear that, if he is denied width, the offside field is packed and bowlers continue to bowl outside off-stump, his run-scoring becomes stunted and, eventually, his frustration will get the better of him. Though this, generally speaking, is a formula that will oust most Test batsmen, Strauss is particularly susceptible because he scores very few runs down the ground, meaning it is too easy for good bowlers to choke his scoring shots.
Above all, Strauss appears mentally exhausted after a winter in which he was worked over relentlessly by Australia; as the senior batsman, much was expected of him. Yet he struggled and, especially worryingly, has continued to do so even against the moderate West Indies attack. He has now reached beyond the point of suffering a mere dip in form; the feeling is that his limited game – once his strength – has been found out.
In 15 Test innings, he has failed to pass 50; he has been equally poor in one-day internationals. Though it was Australia who exposed his flaws, Strauss’ woes have not dissipated against friendlier attacks; rather, they have been accentuated as, while he has continued to struggle, others have enjoyed relatively easy pickings. Strauss is very lucky to remain in the Test squad for Chester-le-Street; and, with a plethora of batsmen pushing their claims, it is not an exaggeration to suggest that, if he fails, his international career could be at an end.