Sports Personality of the Year 2011 top 10: Andrew Strauss

Andrew Strauss said receiving the Ashes urn at the SCG in Australia will live long in his memory.

"It's a bit of a Holy Grail for English teams to win the Ashes out there," he told SPOTY.

He wrote his name into the history books in 2011 as he led England to the Ashes series victory, followed by a 4-0 series win over India which put his side on top of the world.

The England captain helped mastermind a first whitewash over India since 1974, which led to his men usurping the visitors as the top-ranked Test side in the world.

He said: "Beating India at Birmingham to overtake them in the rankings was always a long-term goal to reach number one. To attain that and see what that means to everyone was very special.

Strauss's men are unbeaten in their last nine Test series, and England have not tasted a series defeat at home since 2008 - against South Africa.

In May, Strauss stepped down as one-day captain and announced his retirement from the format, leading to the appointment of Alastair Cook as his replacement. At the same time, Stuart Broad was named Twenty20 skipper.

"Captaining is a lot easier when you're winning, that's for sure," Strauss admitted.

"But it's a great honour to captain your country in any sport but I'm even more fortunate as I've got great people around me, some fantastic players. I'm really excited as I believe we can go on and achieve more in the future."

Laying his focus on the longer format of the game, Strauss and team director Andy Flower have pushed the Test side from strength to strength - with much expected from winter Test series against Pakistan and Sri Lanka and home Tests against West Indies and South Africa in May and July.

"We've got a lot of challenges over the next 12 months or so. In international sport you can't really savour things for too long. You've got to keep pushing on quickly." he said.

"I know there's a lot of motivation and hunger in the group and that should serve us well going forward.

"My genuine hope for next year is that our standards are raised and if we do that we should win plenty of series and hopefully retain that ranking,

"But I don't want us to think negatively about not losing the ranking. I was us to keep improving."

The 34-year-old has not played for England since their 4-0 home series success against India in August but will link up with England's performance programme in India in December.

Stories from Andrew Strauss's year:

England complete India whitewash

Strauss & Flower 'key to success'