Andrew Strauss has stepped down as England’s director of cricket after three and a half years in the role.
The 41-year-old had taken a break in May after his wife Ruth entered a new period of treatment for cancer.
Andy Flower, who has covered for him, will continue in an interim role before a full-time replacement is found.
Strauss said 2019 is “potentially the most important year the game has had in this country” with the World Cup and Ashes series on home soil.
“We have an incredible opportunity to do something special,” said the former Test captain.
“It is vital that the director of cricket can give consistent guidance and support to England Cricket through this period.”
Flower, the England coach between 2009 and 2014, will continue in his interim capacity until December with the intention of joining the England Lions in India in January.
A full-time appointment is expected to be made before England’s West Indies tour which begins in mid-January.
Strauss will take on a “flexible” position within the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).
He will initially help ECB chief executive Tom Harrison in preparing the way for his successor, and thereafter continue to consult on other issues.
“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,” he said.
‘Hard to overestimate his contribution’
Strauss returned home early from the Ashes tour of Australia in December to be with his family after his wife was diagnosed.
The former England captain took up the director of cricket role in May 2015, less than three years after retiring from playing, having skippered his country in 50 of his 100 Tests, scoring 7,037 Test runs at an average of 40.91.
His appointment followed the sacking of Paul Downton as ECB managing director, and came on the same day that Peter Moores was sacked as coach following a poor World Cup campaign.
As director of cricket, Strauss appointed Trevor Bayliss as Moores’ successor and rubber-stamped the end of Kevin Pietersen’s England career.
Bayliss, who is in Sri Lanka ahead of England’s one-day international series which starts with a warm-up match on Friday, paid tribute to Strauss.
“The job he’s done has been first-class. We all understand why he’s going, and it could be a big hole to fill,” said the Australian.
“He’s very knowledgeable on the game, number one. He’s a very educated guy who can listen to people and then put those things together in a very understandable way.
“His planning, his ability to plan and help us plan going forward has been first-class and that’s given us – the management and coaching of the team – a great help.”
Strauss has overseen the development of England into the world’s leading ODI team, while the Test side beat Australia in a home Ashes series before losing down under.
Harrison said: “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.
“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.”