Former England captain Andrew Strauss stepped down as the the Director of England Cricket after three and a half years in the role.Strauss will now take up a more flexible role in the England Cricket Board (ECB) and is will help Chief Executive Officer Tom Harrison in the process of recruiting a full-time successor.Strauss’s resignation comes a few months after he stepped back from the position to support his wife Ruth in her fight against cancer.Andy Flower, who replaced Strauss, will continue in his interim capacity until December before the ECB announces a permanent replacement for Strauss.Speaking about his decision, Strauss said that 2019 is an extremely important year for English cricket and the man, who is in charge should have time for the job and support the board properly.”After three and a half incredible years with the ECB, I have taken the difficult decision to step down from my role as Director of England Cricket.”Next year is potentially the most important the game has had in this country, with the World Cup on home soil and a home Ashes series, and we have an incredible opportunity to do something special. It is vital that the Director of Cricket can give consistent guidance and support to England Cricket through this period,” Strauss was quoted as saying by a ECB press release.He also revealed the reason behind his decision to step down.”Taking time out this summer to support my wife and kids, as Ruth goes through treatment for cancer, has given me the chance to fully consider what’s right for England and what’s needed at home. The role in cricket requires total focus and commitment to deliver the best results, yet right now I need far more flexibility than could ever be possible in my position in order to support my family.advertisement”I will not be leaving the game completely initially helping Tom to shape the role for my successor, then supporting a range of other ECB projects but it’s important to see someone else in place for a crucial summer in 2019.”It has been hugely motivating and enjoyable to be working for the ECB and England Cricket,” Strauss said.Strauss thanked his colleagues for helping him throughout his tenure and wished everyone good luck.”Before taking on this incredible role, I had little appreciation of all the selfless work that goes on across the ECB and throughout domestic cricket to ensure we have winning England teams and that the game, as a whole, keeps growing.”I have been fortunate to be at the ECB at a time when ground-breaking progress has been made, giving cricket a platform to evolve and inspire for years to come. I would like to express my gratitude to Tom, Colin Graves and the leadership team for their commitment and support in helping to drive English cricket forward.”I would also like to offer my sincere thanks to all of those who I have had the pleasure to work with, both inside and outside of the ECB. Finally, I would like to wish Trevor, Paul, Joe, Eoin and all of those involved in the England teams all the very best in a historical year in 2019,” Strauss said.Chief Executive Officer of the ECB Tom Harrison also expressed his gratitude and thanked Strauss for handling his role so professionally.”I know that I speak for everyone at the ECB when I say that we’re very sad to see Andrew step down from the role and we all wish him and his family the very best.”He deserves huge respect for the way he has managed his role, fully supported Ruth and their boys and calmly considered this decision. And it’s hard to overestimate his contribution since joining us in May 2015,” Harrison said.”He is an exceptional talent and it is easy to see how he has made a success of each step in his career moving from dressing room, to captaincy, to commentary, to a key role in the governing body and all the while being the most popular of colleagues.”Andrew has brought enormous credibility, measured thinking, strong leadership and exceptional insight and we have been extremely fortunate to have worked so closely with him for the last three and a half years. He has improved the ways we work and set the direction for the men’s Test, One-Day and T20 teams.”But whilst Andrew leaves the post he is not lost to the ECB. He is uniquely placed to help us define the role and help recruit the right person to build on his exceptional work,” he added.advertisementCurrently, the English team is in Sri Lanka, where they will play five ODIs, one T20I and three Tests from October 5 to November 27.ECB confirmed that a full-time appointment will be made before England’s West Indies tour in the New Year.