Sir Andrew Strauss is one of English cricket's greatest servant.
As an opener, Strauss played 100 Test matches and scored more than 20 centuries – including two in the famous 2005 Ashes series.
As captain, Strauss led the team to number one in the world and another two Ashes victories – including a historic win in Australia.
And yet his hardest tests lay beyond a cricket fields when his wife Ruth was diagnosed with non-smoking lung cancer. Ruth tragically died in 2018 yet her memory endures with the Ruth Strauss Foundation and the annual Red For Ruth day at the Lord's Test.
Here, Sir Andrew speaks both about his cricket career and how he and his family coped with Ruth's loss – and ensured she left a legacy behind.
On the revitalised Test team
Of course it's a high risk, high tempo approach. It's not going to work every time. But already I think it's engaged the public. The public like watching England have a crack – in any sport. Yes, elite sport is all about winning but it's also about how you win and how you play. What they've started there is a really interesting way to breathe new life into the test format but playing it in more of a similar way to white ball cricket. It's been a powerful start.
On his mentor Justin Langer
A moment of inspiration for me was my early days at Middlesex when Justin Langer came as our overseas professional. Langer was just getting into the Australian test team at that stage. I watched how he approached his business: both in the way he practiced, the physical training he did after practice, the way he helped the young players. He emerged as a very significant mentor to me. He instilled confidence in me that he was good enough to play international cricket.
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On his late wife Ruth's cancer diagnosis
When Ruth got diagnosed with cancer, that was hugely shocking to both of us. Ruth had always been extremely well, huge vitality about her. Not for one moment did we expect her to be diagnosed with cancer, let alone lung cancer – she'd never smoked a cigarette in her life – let alone stage four cancer, meaning it was incurable. The moment of truth was life and death are inextricably linked. None of us are here forever and we had to find a way of savouring every moment that we had.
On his new life perspective
Ruth's diagnosis shifted our perspective on life from this futile search for achievement and doing things and accolades to realising that life about relationships and family and leaving your mark on this world in a way that's important to you. From that moment on, my perspective on life has never been the same again.
On the first Red for Ruth Day
The first Red for Ruth Day at Lords happened four or five months after Ruth died. Ruth and I had talked about setting up a foundation in her name to help families prepare for the death of a parent and fund research and knowledge-sharing into non-smoking lung cancer. That was something that was important to Ruth and I felt very strongly it was a way of keeping her alive, ensuring a legacy for a name. To walk out and see the whole of Lords turn red for the Ruth Strauss Foundation was hugely fulfilling.
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For more info, see the Ruth Strauss Foundation