At the end of it, when all due process has been seen to be done, Joe Root will be unveiled as Alastair Cook’s successor and 80th incumbent of the top job in English cricket.
The Yorkshireman, 26, is not so much the outstanding candidate but the only realistic one. And for all that Strauss carefully talked around the subject suggesting that there had been no formal discussion with him yet, he should get it.
Not on his experience of leadership which – with just four first-class games under his belt only one of which he has won – is limited to say the least.
But on the grounds that he is England’s best player and their best bet with Stuart Broad and Jimmy Anderson too near the end of their careers, Ben Stokes too combustible and anyone else too unsure of their place in the side.
When asked whether Root’s relative inexperience would hinder his chances, Strauss offered a diplomatic but emphatic answer.
Andrew Strauss has refused to confirm the next England captain
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“That is the reality in this day and age,” he said. “It’s very hard for England players to get a great deal of county captaincy experience. But on one level there’s only so much you can do to prepare yourself. I think playing in the set-up for a number of years and understanding the demands is more important.
“What is clear is that it [Cook’s decision] gives the new captain a huge amount of time to get used to the idea and have conversations about off-the-field stuff with the coaches and support staff, so that when he steps on the field for the first time as England captain in July, a lot of that stuff will already be taken care of.”
Root has long been tipped up as the next man in line with Alastair Cook insisting last December that he could be “very good” despite his limited experience.
“You just never know until you actually experience it. You are thrown in at the deep end and its sink or swim,” said the outgoing skipper.
Cook’s resignation is nicely timed in that it will give Root four months to settle into the job before two Test series at home – against South Africa and West Indies – and then the Ashes. All three will test of his skills as a tactician.
Alastair Cook has given up the England captaincy
Root will not only have Cook in his ranks to help him along but also the steadying hands of Trevor Bayliss and Strauss which will ensure a consistent train of thought and approach.
And while his input to selection could be good for Jos Buttler and perhaps Adil Rashid to name just two, it really is too early to tell and his instincts may change significantly when wins are required and pragmatism bites down hard.
Indeed, nobody really knows what sort of leader Root will be for all that his Yorkshire teammates are never backward in reminding him about his first outing as county captain.
That came in April 2014, when opponents Middlesex chased down a fourth innings target of 472 to win by seven wickets at Lord’s with Root an increasingly exasperated and frayed presence in the middle.
Root has long been close to Michael Vaughan and remains so. He was a gambling captain and further clues from the way Root approaches his own game – with aggression and steady nerve – also point to a more exhilarating captaincy than under Cook.
Joe Root is expected to be named the new England captain
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Yet before the previous four years are swept away with a vigorous new broom Strauss was keen to pay tribute to the contribution made by Cook and the foundation both he and Bayliss have laid for Root not only to inherit but to build on.
“His record stands for itself,” said England’s Director of Cricket. “He has been England’s longest-serving captain at a time when the scrutiny has never been greater. And if you speak to the people who played under him, you’ll learn that he had that touch with people.
“He had some tough times and so he could appreciate when others had tough times. But he really cared about English cricket, he cared about his team-mates, and about the support staff, and that’s why he’ll be remembered so fondly.”
Root will no doubt add his voice to the tributes when he is announced as the next captain. Strauss said yesterday that a decision will be made public before the one day international tour to the Caribbean to play West Indies leaves on February 22.
He will inherit a team sitting in fourth place in the Test rankings and fresh from a battering in India. With the Aussies away and Proteas at home (both above them in second and third, respectively) to come inside his first 12 months it will be testing but, if the character we have seen so far is anything to go by, it will not be dull.