London: Having led England to the pinnacle of Test cricket with a third successive win over India in the ongoing series, Andrew Strauss has earned a lot of admirers with off-spinner Graeme Swann admitting that "Mr Phlegmatic" is a bit of a hero to him.
"I spend half my working life standing next to Strauss and I have to admit he is a bit of a hero to me," Swann said.
"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 for a daily.
Calling the English captain a true statesman, who is not flustered by the situation at hand, Swann said Strauss commands an equal amount of respect from players as well as the board.
"The thing about Strauss is that he is so calm and always says the right thing. 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," Swann revealed.
"He commands universal respect, not just from the other players in the dressing room but also from the backroom staff, selectors and hierarchy at the ECB," the bowler added.
Swann attributed their numero uno status to the combine of Strauss and coach Andy Flower and said the team`s graph has been on a constant rise since the two came together in 2009.
"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," Swann said.
The 32-year-old said the success against India is just the beginning and reiterated that both Strauss and Flower want the team to stay at the top.
"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.
Swann said the team is looking ahead at new frontiers. However, he insisted that the first and foremost challenge remains to win the series against India 4-0.
"There are always new frontiers. First of all, though, is the small matter of the fourth Test against India at The Oval on Thursday.”
"There`s no way Flower will allow us take our feet off the gas. We`re going for 4-0," Swann insisted.