Not a ball has been bowled under the new/old England captain, but already two of Andrew Strauss’s deeds have a familiar air. His reinstatement of the team’s management committee for the tour of the West Indies and his plea for players to “think on their feet” are both straight out of the Duncan Fletcher manual of leadership. It is as if England have decided to look back before they can go forward.

This seems eminently sensible, which of course is how Strauss’s captaincy is likely to be characterised in the weeks ahead (I’d say “months”, but English cricket operates in less reliable timeframes these days). The presence on the management committee of Andrew Flintoff, Paul Collingwood, Alastair Cook and Stuart Broad is a neat piece of diplomacy: for all the choreographed claims of friendship, Flintoff has never seen eye-to-eye with Strauss, so it’s better if the captain keeps him close; Collingwood is from the other side of the dressing room, while the two youngsters will speak for a different generation.

The exhortation to think on feet is a reaction to the Peter Moores era, where some players felt their personal space had been invaded. Fletcher has always preached an arm’s-length approach: techniques are delicate things in need of delicate remedies. By handing the responsibility back to the players, Strauss is liberating them too. And anyway, didn’t India beat England in 2007 without a coach?

But concerns remain. Kevin Pietersen – rightly omitted from the committee so he can concentrate on feeling at home again – was sacked partly because his request to have Moores removed set a precedent. Which makes you wonder: what about the precedent the England and Wales Cricket Board have now set by removing their captain because he was unhappy with his coach? What, assuming England appoint a full-time replacement for Moores by April, is Strauss supposed to do if he feels the new bloke is a dud?

The risk is that England’s suits and blazers, in their desire for a clean sheet of paper – an impossible ideal, surely, in the hormonal cauldron of international sport – have swung from one extreme to the other while at the same time getting themselves into a complete tangle: if it was a fairground ride, someone would get sued. Does it strike no one as odd that, amid their obvious fear of player power, the ECB contrived to remove Pietersen by, er, asking the players?

Speaking to the former Pakistan coach Richard Pybus recently, I was struck by his contention that “there is an optimal degree of tension that is important in all relationships”. Zen-like harmony is not just impractical: it’s undesirable. Strauss seems to have grasped this by appointing Flintoff on his committee. But the point appears to have eluded his bosses. When Strauss called for his players to think for themselves, he may have located a more profound truth than even he realised.

Lawrence Booth writes on cricket for the Guardian. His third book, Cricket, Lovely Cricket? An Addict’s Guide to the World’s Most Exasperating Game is out now published by Yellow Jersey