It’s been a disappointing return to the England fold for Andrew Strauss this winter. Today’s six-ball duck, a sign of a man struggling for confidence. Some players can rediscover their lost form in the test arena. But it is a high-risk strategy. The intensity of test competition, can also leave your confidence at rock bottom.
Top bowlers will prey endlessly on your perceived weakness. Reminding you verbally as well as physically of your vulnerability. There is no hiding place for the batsman struggling for his touch.
Maybe it would be best for Andrew Strauss to return to county cricket. Build on his strengths. And work on his weakness. Away from the spotlight, where his form becomes a matter of national debate.
Start to feel what it it like to compile centuries and double centuries. Reconnect to the essence of batting. That state of mind, where you don’t feel like you can get out. Where you know instinctively where the bowler is going to put the ball. Where your timing is impeccable. Where the ball seems to come to you in slow-motion.
It takes time to connect to this feeling. And it cannot happen when you need runs. When you are desperate for a score. And maybe Andrew Strauss, with the pressure on him, is feeling that way right now.
In county cricket, he will have the time he needs to build an innings. In his time. In his way. Then slowly but surely, he can be at one with his batting. Then he may be ready for a return to the test arena. But there must be no doubts in both his own mind and the selectors, that he has got his confidence back. Rushing him into the test side, may do more harm than good. Fragile confidence must be carefully handled.
Note: Andrew Strauss’s battling century in the second innings at Napier, is a tribute to his inner strength and will to succeed. He showed that it is possible to rebuild confidence in the test arena, when the conditions are favourable.