Barely two years into his Test career, the Middlesex opener finds himself in charge of the national team knowing he is the third choice skipper against a gifted side who have overtaken England to take second place in the Test rankings behind Australia.
Strauss owes his elevation to the latest in the series of injuries which have blighted England since they seized the Ashes from Australia last year.
Michael Vaughan, whose steely captaincy counterpointed his silken batting, has endured a fourth operation on his right knee and his future in any type of cricket must be doubtful. His successor Andy Flintoff missed the one-day series against Sri Lanka with a heel injury and is only now making a return to competitive cricket.
To compound any insecurities Strauss might feel the England and Wales Cricket Board have made it clear that they still regard Vaughan as the national captain but will reinstate Flintoff in his stead just as soon as he is fit again.
Strauss's cause was not helped by England's abject performance against Sri Lanka in the five-match one-day series under his leadership. The England pace bowlers sprayed the white ball to all parts of the pitch apart from the areas which might have bothered the batsmen and Sri Lanka won the series 5-0 with almost contemptuous ease.
At a news conference on Wednesday, Strauss acknowledged that he was a caretaker captain at best while stressing his determination to help turn England's fortunes around after two drawn series and one loss.
''It's important from my point of view that I put my stamp on the game because whatever we do will carry on into the Test of the series.
''I think there's still a lot of confidence in our Test cricket.
We know that if we do the basics well and play to our game plans that we have put in place we have a chance of winning a Test match.'' Attention to detail has been the hallmark of the England administration since Duncan Fletcher took over as coach at the turn of the century. It is has been a feature of Strauss's game since he made a century on debut at Lord's against New Zealand in 2004.
Now, said Strauss, it is time to return to the basics which brought such heady success for the England team in 2004-5.
There's certain areas that we can improve. I didn't bat well enough in the one-day series, some of the bowlers didn't perform well enough,'' he said.
''We are going to take what we have done well in Test cricket over the last two years and bring it into the Test match.''