Saving Alastair Cook
After the Lord's Test ended with a 95-run defeat for England, Alastair Cook conceded it was one of his "darkest experiences" as captain of the side. It was England's 10th straight Test without a win and in that period, Cook has scored 420 runs in 19 innings at 22.1. Michael Vaughan in the Telegraph writes that the England selectors need to step in and pull Cook out of the captaincy mire so that the team doesn't lose him for good.
Cook will not want to resign. He would see that as a capitulation, a big failure of personality. But there was a revealing signal at Monday's post-match presentation, when he said that he was going to continue until he felt a "tap on the shoulder".
To me, that was almost like a cry for help. Somewhere deep down, I believe Cook wants the selectors to step in and pull him out of the fire, before it gets so hot that we lose him for good. This is a man with the capacity to score 13,000 Test runs.
In the same publication, Geoffrey Boycott writes that Cook has reached the end of the line as captain and relieving him of those duties may just help him turn his form around.
It is as if England have no direction and there's no common sense in the dressing room. Cook needs to go as captain and maybe stay for one more Test as a batsman only. In the famous Ashes series of 1981, Ian Botham resigned the captaincy after making a pair at Lord's, releasing all the mental pressure on himself, and then went out and performed heroics at Headingley.
Maybe the same process could work for Cook.
We saw Cook receive an almost silent welcome from the MCC members on Sunday as he walked back through the pavilion gate, just as Botham did all those years ago. The issues are staring everybody in the face.