Strauss relising extra responsibility
There have been plenty of cases in cricket of captaincy adversely affecting a player's form but England skipper Andrew Strauss is experiencing the opposite effect.
Strauss struck a superb 142 on the first day of the fourth Test against West Indies in Barbados on Thursday to follow up his 169 in the last Test in Antigua.
"It is an important thing as captain to lead by example, so if you want the team to play in a positive way then its important that you show you can do it yourself," the left-hander told reporters.
"I'm fortunate that I'm feeling in good form so that makes it easier, when you aren't in great nick it's more difficult," he added after sharing with Alastair Cook an opening stand of 229.
Strauss's form was evident from the punchy strokeplay he delivered on a good batting track in Barbados, a contrast to some of his more grafting displays in the past.
"The last couple of wickets we have played on the ball has come on pretty well.
"Early in the morning Cooky and I were quite watchful for seven or eight overs then it became apparent that the percentages were slightly in our favour and in those circumstances its important to be positive," he said.
"You get a rhythm to your batting on a given day and I felt that if I continued being positive it was the best way for me to go in this instance," said Strauss.
"The reality is that it is great to be playing with freedom in Bridgetown but I personally believe you have to earn the right to play with that freedom and maybe the graft I played last summer has given me enough confidence to play that way," he said.
Cook fell six runs short of the century, which has eluded him since December 2007. Since reaching three figures in Sri Lanka, Cook has now scored 11 half-centuries without going on to three figures.
"It's clearly one of those things that is a bit of a mental issue for him at the moment," Strauss said.
"It's not something I'm overly worried about as a captain because he continues to make important contributions to the team."