Mike Selvey made an interesting point in his third Test match report cum series review.
“No captain of any consequence does so in isolation. Instead he is a facilitator relying heavily on the sort of input of ideas from his bowlers that cannot come from elsewhere.”
When he isn’t scoring runs, much is made of Strauss’s influence as a captain, but what of other players’ influence on captaincy decisions? The impact of that is even less measurable.
Selvey points out that Tim Bresnan was the senior bowler in the last Test with all of 14 caps to his name and it is notable that when England were in the field, the wheels came off, rolled away and spontaneously combusted. Jimmy Anderson’s presence as a bowler may or may not have helped, as might his presence as a smart bloke with a few ideas floating round his head.
This got us wondering just how much impact the latter has on Test results. In an attempt to investigate, we checked Strauss’s captaincy record with and without James Anderson in the side. This excludes earlier Tests where he was a stand-in captain.
- Total record: 21 wins, 12 draws, nine losses
- With Anderson: 21 wins, 10 draws, eight losses
So since being made England’s permanent Test captain, Strauss has never won a Test without Jimmy Anderson, but has drawn two and lost one when he’s been out of the side. Being as one of those draws was Edgbaston Rainfest 2012, there’s nothing too conclusive in that, but it is something to ponder.
In conclusion: cricket is still a team game and statistics don’t really tell you a right lot.