The first Test between India and England began in Chennai today with new faces on the Channel 4 cricket commentary team. It’s the first time the terrestrial channel has shown a live Test since England’s famous 2005 Ashes win. So who are the new signings? Let’s take a look.

Channel 4 cricket commentary team: The new signings

The additions to C4’s team have a lot in common. Apart from being knights of the realm, Sir Andrew Strauss and Sir Alastair Cook are both former England captains and opening batsmen.

Strauss: From skipper to administrator

Strauss, 43, was a left-handed opener who played exactly 100 Tests for England between 2004 and 2012 (Cricinfo).

In 178 innings he scored 7,037 runs at an average of 40.9 and a highest score of 177. Strauss scored 21 centuries and 27 fifties (Cricinfo). He is ninth on England’s all-time run-scoring list.

He became England captain in January 2009, taking over from Kevin Pietersen. Strauss was skipper for exactly half his 100 tests.

England captain Andrew Strauss (C) and teammates after England’s win in the second Test against Sri Lanka at the P. Sara Oval in Colombo on April 7, 2012. (LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI/AFP via Getty Images)

Although better known for his Test career, Strauss also played 127 one-day internationals between 2003 and 2011. The 5ft 11in batsman scored 4,205 runs at an average of 35.6 and a strike rate of 80.9 (Cricinfo).

Strauss retired from all forms of cricket in August 2012 at the age of 35. He led England to home and away Ashes triumphs as the nation was crowned the world’s number-one team for the first time since rankings were introduced.

On retiring, Strauss told the BBC: “I am extremely proud of everything I have achieved as a cricketer. I have loved every minute.”

Family tragedy

Strauss went on to become director of the England & Wales Cricket Board in May 2015 but stepped down in September 2018 when his wife, Ruth, was diagnosed with a rare form of lung cancer.

Sadly, Ruth died in December 2018 aged only 46. They have two sons, Sam and Luca.

Strauss was knighted last year and is director of performance psychology company Mindflick.

Cook: Still going strong

Cook took over from Strauss as England captain and is also a left-handed opener. We say “is” as, despite retiring from international cricket in 2018, the 36-year-old has committed to playing another season for his county, Essex.

 

In his England Test career, Cook scored an incredible 12,472 runs in 161 matches at an average of 45.4 (Cricinfo).

That makes him England’s highest Test run-scorer in history, while he notched 33 tons and 57 fifties during his glittering international career. His top score was a monumental 294.

Cook is also England’s most-capped player. He is the youngest player to reach 12,000 Test runs – the sixth overall and the only Englishman.

Alastair Cook leaves the field for England for the last time at The Kia Oval on September 11, 2018. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

Cook made his Test debut in India, in 2006. He immediately revealed his star status by scoring 60 on his debut knock and a remarkable 104 not out in the second innings to drag England to an unlikely draw.

Cook holds another record, for the amount of times he captained England – 59 Tests. He led his country to Ashes victories in 2013 and 2015 and carried on playing after he stepped down from the position in February 2017.

When he stepped down, Cook told the BBC: “Playing for England is a privilege and I hope to carry on as a Test player, making a full contribution and helping the next England captain and the team however I can.”

In his last Test as a ‘mere’ opener, Cook faced India again at The Oval in September 2018. In typical Cook fashion he scored 71 in the first innings followed by a magnificent 147, which helped England to a 118-run win (Cricinfo).

The 6ft 2in batsman is nicknamed ‘Chef’ but is a farmer in his spare time.

Root: 100 on 100th appearance

Cook and Strauss witnessed another wonder-show from an England captain as Joe Root scored 128 not out on the first day of the Test in Chennai.

It is the skipper’s third century in a row and came on his 100th Test to boot.

At close of play, England were 263 for three. Dom Sibley was out on the last over of the day for 87, leaving Root hobbling with cramp but still at the crease.

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