Strauss retires from cricket

England test captain Andrew Strauss has announced his retirement from professional cricket.

"England's batsman Andrew Strauss ducks during a test match. Picture: AFP

LONDON - LONDON - England captain Andrew Strauss, who oversaw back-to-back Ashes wins over Australia and took England to the top of the test rankings, announced his retirement from professional cricket on Wednesday.

Strauss, who had been in charge since 2009, will be replaced by one-day skipper Alastair Cook.

"After much thought over the last few weeks, I have decided to step down as England test captain and announce my retirement from all forms of cricket," the 35-year-old told a news conference.

"It has clearly been a tough decision to make, but I believe that it is both in the best interests of the England cricket team and myself to step down at this stage."

Strauss's decision was the climax of a difficult few weeks for the batsman during which England lost their number one test ranking to South Africa following a 2-0 series defeat to the Proteas.

Strauss averaged only 17.83 runs against South Africa during the home series with a highest score of 37.

Batsman Kevin Pietersen was dropped for the third and final test after sending what he conceded were 'provocative' text messages about his team mates and management to opposition players.

During his three years in charge, Strauss led England to back-to-back Ashes wins and last year they became the number one test team following a 4-0 series whitewash at home to India.

But since then England have lost six tests, including three in a row to Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates this year, won three and drawn two.