SYDNEY, February 19, 2010 (Crickettomorrow.com) - Andrew Strauss is taking a break from the pressures of the England cricket team captaincy in an isolated village in the state of Victoria, Australian media have reported.
Strauss has been criticised for showing a lack of respect for Test cricket following his decision to opt out of this month's tour of Bangladesh, saying he wants to be fresh for England's Ashes tour to Australia later this year.
The England opening batsman has been spotted in the township of Buninyong, near Ballarat, west of Melbourne, according to The Age newspaper.
The newspaper said members of the Buninyong Cricket Club have been sworn to secrecy over his whereabouts.
"Andrew was quite adamant that he didn't want them to tell anyone he was in town," a local source told The Age on Thursday.
The newspaper said the cricketer's cover was blown when a "well-spoken Englishman bearing a striking resemblance to the England captain" was spotted at the cricket club's fundraising night last week.
Buninyong Cricket Club said Strauss had stayed briefly to speak to its junior cricketers and sign autographs but they were unsure whether he was still in town, The Age said.
Strauss and his Australian wife, Ruth, who grew up in Ballarat, have bought a house in the area in recent years and he was enjoying some peace and quiet with in-laws, it said.
Ballarat councillor Ben Taylor said Buninyong, population 1,800, was the perfect place to escape the spotlight of international cricket.
"Even if they knew he was there they wouldn't tell anyone," he said. "The good thing is it's more of a village atmosphere so he could go there and not be interfered with."
Strauss' decision to skip the two-Test, three ODI tour of Bangladesh has been criticised by Australian Test great Shane Warne.
"It's disappointing that the captain of England decides to have a rest from a Test series. I can't comprehend that," Warne said earlier this month.
"Any time you represent your country it's special and I cannot understand how you can rest your captain."