London, Aug 16 (IANS): England spinner Graeme Swann said that his captain Andrew Strauss is his hero.
"I spend half my working life standing next to Andrew Strauss and I have to admit he is a bit of a hero to me. Strauss is a magnificent leader and his contribution to England's climb to the top of the world Test rankings has been absolutely massive," Swann wrote in his column in The Sun.
Swann said the soft-spoken mild mannered Strauss commands universal respect, not just from the other players in the dressing room but also from the backroom staff, selectors and hierarchy at the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).
"The thing about Strauss is that he is so calm and always says the right thing. So, when the stroppy merchants like myself, Stuart Broad and James Anderson start losing our rags, Strauss can return us very quickly to an even keel with a comment or even just a gesture," said Swann.
"And he does it in a way that doesn't humiliate us, make us resent him or cause us to lose our focus and aggression," he said.
The off-spinner said that he has never seen Strauss losing temper.
"I've never seen Strauss get caught up in the emotion of situations. He never kicks the ground, shouts and swears or, for that matter, become carried away when things are going well. He is Mr Phlegmatic."
"His statesmanlike qualities extend beyond the routine stuff such as making bowling and fielding changes or team talks. When stories such as match fixing or even last week's riots demand a firm but sensible voice, Strauss is the man to deliver the perfect words," said Swann.
Swann said that the captain-coach combination of Strauss-Andy Flower is working well for England.
"England's recent success can be traced back to early 2009 when Strauss and Andy Flower came together as captain and head coach. Our graph has been pointing upwards ever since. Flower is much more emotional than Straussy but they compliment each other perfectly. There's no way Strauss and Flower will be satisfied just with getting to the top. They will want to stay there as long as possible - and I'm certain the players feel the same. This isn't job done, it's job started," he said.