Sensible Strauss just the tonic
Warner Room, Lord's
Having refused to answer questions on Wednesday, the man accountable for the performance of the England cricket team spent Thursday's news conference hiding behind a food counter. It was left to Strauss, like a head boy filling in for his headmaster, to convince those in attendance that everything would be OK.
"It hasn't been an ideal situation," said Strauss. "I don't think anyone has come out of it particularly well. But it's happened. We need to move on."
It is Morris who is ultimately responsible for hiring and firing captains and coaches, and it was Morris who should have been sat next to Strauss explaining why England are in chaos six months ahead of an Ashes series.
"We've made a mess of things, this should never have happened." These were the sorts of things you wanted Morris to say. Instead, he skulked.
Strauss is, in sporting parlance, a 'safe pair of hands'. Sensible haircut, sensible suit, sensible sentences. All in all, a sensible choice.
While Kevin Pietersen is a Maserati, Strauss is a Ford. That's not meant as a criticism of the Middlesex opener. Maseratis are more likely to go wrong. And when they do, they're very expensive to fix. When Fords go wrong, you can easily part-exchange them.
And Strauss, unlike Pietersen, is unlikely to issue ultimatums, in the words of former skipper Nasser Hussain, while "sitting on safari".
"I've spoken to Kevin a couple of times, it's a tough situation," added Strauss. "But he's been very supportive so far. I'm sure he's got his own side of the story."
Strauss did not deny there were divisions in the England dressing room, but insisted the media were making them out to be "greater than they are".
"I'll have conversations with the players over the next week. It's going to take effort on everyone's behalf. It's not going to be hunky-dory from the start."
England fly to the Caribbean for a four-Test series against West Indies on 21 January. Strauss, who admitted certain players had been "pushed into corners", does not have long to coax them out.
Mercifully, he has experience in the job, and possesses a ruthless streak. He captained England in the summer of 2006, when Michael Vaughan was injured, leading the side to a 2-0 Test series victory over Pakistan.
But Andrew Flintoff replaced him for the ill-fated Ashes series the following winter, and he has skippered his country only once since, against West Indies at Lord's in 2007. He probably thought his chance had gone. Lucky for him the ECB seems to have had its fill of Big Time Charlies.
Typically, Strauss's appointment as Test skipper, while solving one problem, creates another. While Pietersen also captained the one-day side (and is far and away the best batsman in the team) Strauss hasn't played an ODI for England since April 2007.
Furthermore, his record in the shorter form of the game isn't spectacular, with two hundreds from 78 matches, the last in the summer of 2005.
England's selectors clearly don't believe Strauss is good enough to be in the one-day side - they would have been picking him if they did - but there is a distinct lack of alternatives. And plumping for Kent captain Rob Key, as some have suggested, would be just as big a gamble as plumping for Strauss.
The selectors will meet on Friday to decide the make-up of the one-day and Twenty20 squads, and also who will replace Peter Moores as England coach.
England's current batting coach, the no-nonsense Andy Flower, is favourite to land the role, at least on a short-term basis. Judging from the rumours of rifts emanating from the England camp, the ECB might want to find out what Kofi Annan's up to instead.
"If Australian cricket fans thought Ricky Ponting and his men had pre-Ashes problems," crowed the Canberra Times on Thursday, "they needed only to watch England's leadership descend into farce to feel things may be looking up."
"The Ashes are still a long way away," countered Strauss. "There's time." No outlandish boasts. Nothing flash. A sensible man trying to draw a line under chaotic times.