Andrew Strauss, one of the most successful captains in England's recent cricket history after winning Ashes series at home and away, has announced he is retiring from professional cricket.
Strauss insisted he had taken the decision to retire primarily because of his own batting problems, and that he had been considering his future long before Kevin Pietersen rocked England's boat this summer.
"I'd run my race," the 35-year-old told a press conference at Lord's, having abandoned his initial attempt to leave his comments to a brief pre-prepared statement with typical grace and good humour.
"In truth I hadn't batted well enough for a long period of time now. From a captaincy point of view it's important you're not a passenger, and people aren't speculating on your future. I know from my own energy levels and motivation I wasn't going to improve batting-wise.
"It's not something that's happened overnight. It's been a gradual thing over the last 12 months, and certainly the last six weeks."
Asked directly whether the Pietersen stand-off, which was prompted by text messages sent about him to members of the South Africa team, had been a factor in his decision, the 35-year-old added: "No, not in any way. I've been thinking about it for a while. I first spoke to Andy (Flower, the team director) prior to the whole Kevin Pietersen incident rearing its head. It hasn't been a consideration to me.
"I was sure I was going to make the decision before the Pietersen situation arose. What happened I didn't feel had undermined me in the eyes of the team in any way. It was obviously a difficult situation to deal with but not in terms of making me more or less keen to lead the side forward. You just know in your mind how you're feeling about things.
"At the end of the South Africa series with losing the number one ranking it's time for the side to refresh and think about how best to regain the number one ranking. For more than 12 months now I've looked at this series as a bit of a crossroads. If I'd have been playing really well and the team were doing really well, then I might have pushed through the next two Ashes series. But as it is I've not played well enough, and the team had some difficult times."
Cook to take over
Strauss said that he had yet to speak to the majority of the England players, having spent much of Tuesday writing to them individually, but Alastair Cook, who was named his successor, confirmed that the news of his decision had stunned the one-day team when it reached them after their defeat by South Africa in Southampton on Tuesday.