England v India, 1st Investec Test, Trent Bridge July 8, 2014

Cook's captaincy future on the line

Alastair Cook's qualities as England captain have been widely debated. England's five-Test series against India is about to determine his future
41

Play 05:28
Chappell: Difficult for Cook to improve in some areas

Amid all the advice and criticism heaped towards Alastair Cook in recent weeks, one truism has shone out: he needs to score more runs if he is to be an effective captain of England.

Cook may never be a Churchillian orator or a Napoleonic strategist. He may never shock or inspire with his words or his tactics.

But leadership comes in many forms. And the Cook who scored back-to-back centuries in Ahmedabad and Mumbai, the Cook who insisted that Kevin Pietersen was recalled at the end of 2012, the Cook who made seven centuries in his first 11 Tests as captain and the Cook who won nine and lost only one of his first 15 Tests as captain, did inspire and lift his team.

He might not offer genius, but he does offer hard work, commitment and determination. He led by example.

Whether such qualities are enough to succeed at this level remains to be seen. Indeed, the next seven weeks may define Cook's rein as captain; if England lose, it is hard to see how he can continue in the role.

But Cook's successes as captain seem to have been air-brushed out of history in recent times. To win in India, particularly having been a Test down, is a fine achievement. And, less than a year ago, he led England to a 3-0 Ashes victory. The complacency with which that result was greeted now seems incredible.

He has obvious limitations. His inability to find a solution to the Pietersen dilemma has not only weakened his side, but instigated a saga that continues to weigh him down. Equally he has struggled to integrate some characters - the likes of Nick Compton, Simon Kerrigan and Boyd Rankin - into a set-up that, if it were a little more hospitable, might coax the best out of more players.

But most of the criticism he has attracted has been for more mundane factors. It has been for his conservative field placings and safety-first declarations. It has been for a continuation of the tactics employed by Andrew Strauss and Andy Flower in taking England to No. 1 in the Test rankings and factors that constitute a relatively small fraction of the role of captain.

He knows he has to improve. He knows that his seamers will have to be utilised in shorter spells if they are to remain effective. He knows he has to find a way to cope without Graeme Swann's control and he knows there may be times when he has to be more inventive in the field.

But many of his faults have been exaggerated. While England certainly did not cover themselves in glory at Leeds, Shane Warne's suggestion that Cook's leadership was the worst he had seen in 25 years was hyperbole. In that period, we have seen captains urge players to underperform for money and to manipulate games for a leather jacket. In the grand scheme of things, Cook's decision to persist with a deep extra cover rather than a third slip does not amount to much.

Cook does not necessarily have to change his attritional style. It worked for Strauss and, if it comes naturally to Cook, it is better he sticks with it rather than trying to reinvent himself as an aggressive, risk-taker. It is just not his way and, in truth, it has rarely been the England way.

Besides, Cook was let down by his senior players as much as his own decision making against Sri Lanka. Many of the tactical failings for which he has been blamed would have been masked if his seamers had bowled fuller and his wicketkeeper taken a couple of chances. The fact that four players have registered centuries in their second Tests in recent months might even suggest that the team environment is improving.

It is hard to recall a time when England have had a captain that has not attracted an almost unbearable amount of criticism. Certainly Andrew Strauss, who even with his team at No. 1 in the Test ratings, faced calls to step down, knows how Cook is feeling. So does Mike Gatting, whose side won none of his final 14 Test in charge.

Even the best of recent vintage such as Mike Brearley, whose Test batting average of 22.88 would have seen him under immense pressure in the modern era, and Michael Vaughan, who was captain when England lost the 2007 series against India, had to deal with similar issues at one stage or another. Like the manager of the England football team, it is becoming a job in which it is impossible to please.

But, in the short term, the fact remains that many of the problems Cook currently faces will fade away if he can only rediscover his form with the bat. Without a century in 24 innings and averaging only 25.04 in that time, Cook knows he is not pulling his weight at a batsman. With little tactical acumen to compensate, that weakness is exacerbated.

There is no reason to suspect his dip in form - prolonged though it is - should be terminal. Anyone capable of making 25 Test centuries by the age of 28 has proved they are an exceptional player and, aged 29 now, the best may be ahead of him. The suggestion that bowlers have only just started testing him outside off stump seems naïve; it was always the default angle of attack.

"I'm desperately keen to lead from the front," Cook said on the eve of the Trent Bridge Test. "I know how important it is at the top of the order to do that.

"I'm in there because I'm one of the top six batters in the country. My job is to score the runs and set up the game for England. It doesn't matter whether you're captain or not.

"I haven't been doing that over the last year or so and no one is keener than me to put that right. I've worked very hard over the last 10 days. I've just got to make sure my mind is totally clear so that when I go out there I can concentrate on the most important thing, which is that ball coming down."

The India management, to their immense credit, have not sought to capitalise on Cook's difficulties. After the coach, Duncan Fletcher, backed him to recover his form at the start of tour media conference, their captain, MS Dhoni, utilised his pre-series media conference to urge Cook to ignore the criticism.

But other critics will be relentless and Cook admitted that he had required a "thick skin" in recent weeks. But he also reiterated his determination not to step down from the role whatever happens in the next 42 days.

"You have to be determined and stick to your guns. We all know you are judged on results and results have not been good enough. If we turn it round and win games of cricket things will be different.

"I'm incredibly proud to be England captain. I have thrown everything into it and continue to. Until that day the selectors decide I'm not the right man for the job I will continue to. It is a huge honour to do this and I can go to sleep knowing that I've thrown everything I've got into it."

Cook's hard work and determination have never been in doubt. The next seven weeks may well determine whether they are enough.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on July 10, 2014, 5:31 GMT

    Much ado about nothing. When Cook was on a phenomenal 'run', it would have been obvious to any long time follower of the game that such scoring rates are unsustainable over a long stretch unless one is a Don Bradman. The law of averages has caught up and he is in a trough to compensate for the peaks he was in for quite a while. In time he will re-emerge as a good bat. By imagining and imputing technical weaknesses one is only aggravating the mental stress he must be undergoing which also makes for poor decisions as a captain. One thing is leading to another. The 'experts' have just kept themselves in the media focus and nothing else. This is not hindsight but if you check your records you will find I have forewarned about Cook starting to hit a trough while he was still at his peak. As an Indian fan, my only worry is that he should regain his normal touch against India!

  • YorkshirePudding on July 10, 2014, 4:56 GMT

    @Mahboob Ahmad, KP's future wasnt destroyed by Cook, all through the Ashes in Aus he was having Cortizone injections to his knee. This suggests a deeper medical problem. Also surely a player who wants back in the Test side would be chomping at the bit to play as many CC games as he could in order to state the case and put pressure on the selectors. So Far this season KP has played ZERO FC games, despite the opportunity to play in at least the last 3.

    AS for Cok destroying English cricket, please top using hyperbole, there are other reasons cricket is being 'destroyed', like flat pitches, a lack of quality front line spinner.

  • on July 10, 2014, 2:50 GMT

    Cook is not doing terribly badly as captain, because he never was anything special as a captain in the first place. When he first took over he inherited a team which was playing well, and he didn't have to do a hell of a lot to ensure it kept performing well. But,. as was shown in Australia, and against Sri Lanka, Cook has neither the intellect nor the strength of character to be a captain. Put simply, he just is not captaincy material. And although he has a pretty good test record, he has also endured longer run droughts than most test batsmen, and his incredible vulnerability outside off stump is something which i think will seriously limit just how many runs he scores in his career. And another thing,every time he bats his brain looks utterly scrambled by his captaincy responsibilities.

  • on July 9, 2014, 22:45 GMT

    It appears this document was translated from another language. A spell check would be useful rein and reign are not synonyms and or and nor are not are more obviously used differently..Correct use of grammer is important in communication.

  • on July 9, 2014, 15:08 GMT

    I wrote from months ENGLAND prolem is cook how destroy ENGLAND CRICKET and PETERSON future and also GILES coach main problem in australia last visit I ALWAYS wrote LAST Ten YEAR england SUCCESS iS BECOUsE GREAT PETERSON

  • IndianInnerEdge on July 9, 2014, 13:54 GMT

    Dunno about the inspired captaincy bit....but you are always one india series away from regaining your form and doing a makeover job on ur averages. Am sure Cook, Bell, root must be thinking this is happy hour looking @ the indian bowling attack.....and india left out the one guy who could have made adifference - Yadav......pathetic.....

  • BradmanBestEver on July 9, 2014, 13:30 GMT

    Cook does not seem to have the character - the toughness - the slight arrogance/confidence often seen in top leaders.

    England need a change and they need it now - they are 'going through the motions' because they are shell-shocked after the Ashes massacre. Someone in authority needs to take action

  • ramli on July 9, 2014, 12:27 GMT

    @csr11 ... if you are going to equate A-tours with test-level and replace a proven talent, God save Indian cricket ... Naman Oja has to do it consistently across competitions to even merit an entry into probables, leave alone 18or17 member squad ... MSD's change in approach to tests is already visible with 5-bowler strategy ... have patientce with this young Indian team

  • YorkshirePudding on July 9, 2014, 11:50 GMT

    @Emanuel Cummings, who do you give the captaincy to if you relieve Cook of the job?

    I agree about getting him away from ODI cricket it seems that's spoilt his trigger movement, as he can be looser outside off due to the lack of slips.

  • on July 9, 2014, 11:44 GMT

    I said many years ago that the captaincy and one day cricket will destroy Alastair Cook's batting and by extension England's overall performance. . Bell and company do well when Cook at the top of the order does well, hence the only remedy is for him to be relieved of the captaincy and one day cricket . Some batsman were made for only Test Cricket such as Cook the new Braithwaite form the West Indies, Pujara from India . Selectors please do your job and save Alastair Cook and English Cricket

  • on July 10, 2014, 5:31 GMT

    Much ado about nothing. When Cook was on a phenomenal 'run', it would have been obvious to any long time follower of the game that such scoring rates are unsustainable over a long stretch unless one is a Don Bradman. The law of averages has caught up and he is in a trough to compensate for the peaks he was in for quite a while. In time he will re-emerge as a good bat. By imagining and imputing technical weaknesses one is only aggravating the mental stress he must be undergoing which also makes for poor decisions as a captain. One thing is leading to another. The 'experts' have just kept themselves in the media focus and nothing else. This is not hindsight but if you check your records you will find I have forewarned about Cook starting to hit a trough while he was still at his peak. As an Indian fan, my only worry is that he should regain his normal touch against India!

  • YorkshirePudding on July 10, 2014, 4:56 GMT

    @Mahboob Ahmad, KP's future wasnt destroyed by Cook, all through the Ashes in Aus he was having Cortizone injections to his knee. This suggests a deeper medical problem. Also surely a player who wants back in the Test side would be chomping at the bit to play as many CC games as he could in order to state the case and put pressure on the selectors. So Far this season KP has played ZERO FC games, despite the opportunity to play in at least the last 3.

    AS for Cok destroying English cricket, please top using hyperbole, there are other reasons cricket is being 'destroyed', like flat pitches, a lack of quality front line spinner.

  • on July 10, 2014, 2:50 GMT

    Cook is not doing terribly badly as captain, because he never was anything special as a captain in the first place. When he first took over he inherited a team which was playing well, and he didn't have to do a hell of a lot to ensure it kept performing well. But,. as was shown in Australia, and against Sri Lanka, Cook has neither the intellect nor the strength of character to be a captain. Put simply, he just is not captaincy material. And although he has a pretty good test record, he has also endured longer run droughts than most test batsmen, and his incredible vulnerability outside off stump is something which i think will seriously limit just how many runs he scores in his career. And another thing,every time he bats his brain looks utterly scrambled by his captaincy responsibilities.

  • on July 9, 2014, 22:45 GMT

    It appears this document was translated from another language. A spell check would be useful rein and reign are not synonyms and or and nor are not are more obviously used differently..Correct use of grammer is important in communication.

  • on July 9, 2014, 15:08 GMT

    I wrote from months ENGLAND prolem is cook how destroy ENGLAND CRICKET and PETERSON future and also GILES coach main problem in australia last visit I ALWAYS wrote LAST Ten YEAR england SUCCESS iS BECOUsE GREAT PETERSON

  • IndianInnerEdge on July 9, 2014, 13:54 GMT

    Dunno about the inspired captaincy bit....but you are always one india series away from regaining your form and doing a makeover job on ur averages. Am sure Cook, Bell, root must be thinking this is happy hour looking @ the indian bowling attack.....and india left out the one guy who could have made adifference - Yadav......pathetic.....

  • BradmanBestEver on July 9, 2014, 13:30 GMT

    Cook does not seem to have the character - the toughness - the slight arrogance/confidence often seen in top leaders.

    England need a change and they need it now - they are 'going through the motions' because they are shell-shocked after the Ashes massacre. Someone in authority needs to take action

  • ramli on July 9, 2014, 12:27 GMT

    @csr11 ... if you are going to equate A-tours with test-level and replace a proven talent, God save Indian cricket ... Naman Oja has to do it consistently across competitions to even merit an entry into probables, leave alone 18or17 member squad ... MSD's change in approach to tests is already visible with 5-bowler strategy ... have patientce with this young Indian team

  • YorkshirePudding on July 9, 2014, 11:50 GMT

    @Emanuel Cummings, who do you give the captaincy to if you relieve Cook of the job?

    I agree about getting him away from ODI cricket it seems that's spoilt his trigger movement, as he can be looser outside off due to the lack of slips.

  • on July 9, 2014, 11:44 GMT

    I said many years ago that the captaincy and one day cricket will destroy Alastair Cook's batting and by extension England's overall performance. . Bell and company do well when Cook at the top of the order does well, hence the only remedy is for him to be relieved of the captaincy and one day cricket . Some batsman were made for only Test Cricket such as Cook the new Braithwaite form the West Indies, Pujara from India . Selectors please do your job and save Alastair Cook and English Cricket

  • YorkshirePudding on July 9, 2014, 9:50 GMT

    @dunger.bob, Brearley was a one in a generation, the closest I can think of in the modern game is Clarke, but he hold is own as a batsman, though you would say he could keep his place on captaincy alone.

    I think Brealey just knew the game, and more importantly the players he played with and against, such that he knew how to set fields to them to get them out. He also had the bowlers in Willis and Botham to see the fruition of the plans. Holding of using botham at Edgbaston was genius and good man management, knowing Botham would be fuming by the time he got the ball.

  • dunger.bob on July 9, 2014, 9:37 GMT

    @ YorkshirePudding: When you guys sent Mike Brearly out here that time, we used to joke that only the Poms would use a non-playing captain. .. Well, of course the man was a veritable genius and soon wiped the smirks off our faces, but he is the only exception I can think of to the rule that a captain has to hold his own as a player. Brearly did make a few runs I believe, but relative to his team mates he was easily the weakest player in the team. .. like I said before mate, it's tough.

    @ csr11: I don't know if I'd be reading too much into that. The AB Field is a notorious draw ground because it's hard to get anyone out after lunch.

  • YorkshirePudding on July 9, 2014, 9:02 GMT

    @Asad Khan, you start morgan could replace Cook, and that he ou scored Balance, that's not strictly true, In terms of FC runs Morgan has scored 160 runs more than Ballance, but Morgan has played 5 more innings than Ballance, in terms of average Balance is 10 runs/innings ahead of Morgan (68 vs 58).

    Why would you drop an opener for Morgan who is a middle order player, and who opens with Robson. Or do you keep cook in the team, and replace someone in the middle order? Is there a justification to drop one of the 4 players that made a 100 in the last series, or drop Bell. whos current England's leading run scorer over the last 18 months.

  • Narkovian on July 9, 2014, 8:54 GMT

    Crickey George. Mike Brearley - recent vintage ?! Its 35 years ago. Now that makes me feel very young ( he is a fair bit older than me) , and I am a pensioner !

    Cook - if he was a golfer you would say he has the "yips". Can he get rid of them ? We shall see. Personally I doubt if he will ever be quite the same.

  • YorkshirePudding on July 9, 2014, 8:50 GMT

    @dunger.bob, I completely agree, also how long before the press start on about the captain not leading from the front, you only have to look at Strauss, the moment he stopped scoring, he knifes came out about how he justified his place because he wasn't scoring, despite him winning series.

    Strauss lost 3 series out of in 3 years (2009 vs WI, 2012 vs Pakistan, and 2012 vs SA) one drawn series away to SA in 2009/10. Yet there were calls from the media for his head.

  • csr11 on July 9, 2014, 8:26 GMT

    i get the debate around the captaincy of Cook, but what about Dhoni. Dhoni is also treading on thin ice as far as test captaincy goes. Today's performance by Naman Ojha (2 unbeaten Knocks of 200 and 100 against a reasonable aussie A team) should put him in the radar for a test call-up when Iindia goes to Australia later this year. India might have found a strong challenger to Dhoni for the wicketkeeper- batsman slot.

  • on July 9, 2014, 7:52 GMT

    if cook is dropped, then I think Morgan is the next best option to captain, but he is not playing test, instead busy outscoring worthless balance who is playing, Root would probably take the opener slot, and Morgan would slide into 5 and captain then experience heavily lies with Bell and bowlers if prior won't be playing either. personally I would like to c Ballance dropped even after his hundred and I would like to c james Taylor bat at 3

  • dunger.bob on July 9, 2014, 7:46 GMT

    @ YorkshirePudding: Well, that's the thing isn't it? It's all well and good to say 'we need a new captain' but it's not quite as easy as that in this situation. There's no clear-cut heir apparent to step up and move in seamlessly. You could give it to Broad, Bell or Anderson but I've seen some fairly convincing arguments as to why none of them are certainties to be any better than Cook. .. Then, if you draft in a bloke whose main job is to captain, not as a batter or bowler, isn't it going to be hard for him to get the respect of his team mates? It would be difficult for some people to take orders from a clearly inferior player. .. It's a tough situation for you lot that's for sure and I don't envy you. .. On the bright side, Cook may get his batting mojo back and start leading from the front again. If I were English, I think that would be my preferred option.

  • brahms on July 9, 2014, 7:37 GMT

    Following Deuce03's lead, I note that Dinesh Kanwar says, "I do not think Eng have any alternate." The word "alternate" means swap regularly or continually between two states (hence the term alternating current). The correct word required here is "alternative". I think that part of Cook's problem is the change from being "one of the team" to being in charge of those who were his team mates. He has to be prepared to give some of them a bollocking - that change doesn't come naturally to some people. It would be easier if someone from outside the team took over even though that would mean dropping one of the new batsmen. The best captain around is Gale - and a serviceable batsman.

  • YorkshirePudding on July 9, 2014, 7:15 GMT

    @George Dobell, you mention Cooks inability to sort out the issue with KP has weakened the side, Really, surely its two way street, surely KP has as much responsibility to help the issue.

    Also, can you explain how KP deserves to be included in the Current test squad when he hasn't played a first class game all season for surrey, and is doing badly in the domestic T20 competition with an average of 23 from 4 innings, which doesn't even get him a toe in the T20I squad, especially with JJ roy scoring 400+ from 9/10 innings.

    KP's boat has gone, and I suspect that it wasn't just his attitude in the dressing room, but his on going Knee problems (several cortisone injections during the last Ashes), that meant the ECB called time on his international career.

  • Nandu_Athadu on July 9, 2014, 7:08 GMT

    He will regain his captaincy and will score runs too..no need to worry about this in this series..

  • waqas-mazhar on July 9, 2014, 6:57 GMT

    I dont thiknk that England has better captain than Alaister ... The reaon why England is losing is not the COOK'S CAPTAINCY its the rest of the side..

  • YorkshirePudding on July 9, 2014, 6:46 GMT

    for once I would love one of these articles/writers to mention a few names as to who could take over the captaincy, an how they deserve a place in the squad.

    People mention Bell as a captain, but the question is does he want it seeing how the knifes have been out for Cook. We all saw how the vice captaincy affected Prior, so hes out of the picture,that leaves the senior bowlers Anderson and Broad.

    Or do they draft in someone for the captaincy, In which case who gets dropped to make way, after 4 of the top 6 scored Ton's. Does that player get picked on merit in terms of performance (batting/keeping/bowling) or simply because hes a captain.

  • notimeforcricket on July 9, 2014, 5:48 GMT

    Captaincy is gruelling mentallly. opening the batting is gruelling mentally. time and time again we see a captain invigorated by his appointment have a purle patch before fading quickly. I have said it before and I will say it again. the vast majority of people cannot cope with captaincy of a test team and batting up the order in the longer run. People remind me of Greame Smith as the example which disproves my point but the guy has just retired at 33 totally burned out. If he had stepped away from the captaincy 2 or 3 years ago, perhaps he would have played on till he was 37 or 38. Cook may have 7, 8 or 9 years left in him if he is not capain and will break every England batting record. If he stays as captain, he will eventually become unselectable and will be dropped before he turns 31

  • on July 9, 2014, 5:40 GMT

    2 series loss and some poor captaincy and Cook is under such pressure. I like the fact that he is at least acknowledging the rut he is in. Dhoni does not even seem to acknowledge that he needs to improve his batting and is instead blaming the team for his personal failures. If Cook is under more pressure than Dhoni, it only says one thing. That the standards set by the English are much more than the ones set by the India. How else would you answer Dhoni surviving this long as the test captain?

  • Kayferz on July 9, 2014, 5:19 GMT

    You missed it Ajronald. Pietersen, of course, was mentioned.

  • Deuce03 on July 9, 2014, 5:15 GMT

    When did the world collectively forget how to spell "reign/rein"? The many hundreds of times I've seen "reign" used where "rein" is appropriate (usually "free reign") then for once I spot an appropriate place for a "reign" and "rein" gets used instead. Did I miss a meeting where the world agreed to swap spellings?

    Other than that, a good article.

  • Ajronald on July 9, 2014, 4:43 GMT

    At last, an article about Cook without mentioning Kevin Pietersen

  • on July 9, 2014, 4:41 GMT

    This is going to be interesting series, difficult for both sides as well as individuals at helm of affairs. Just speaking about individuals we have Virat ready to to shoo in. I do not think Eng have any alternate. Other senior members are Broad & Anderson, both bowlers, more prone to injuries in hectic schedules and Bell not much known of him about leadership skills. Eng, though on turbulent times have good stable batting (look the number of centuries scored ) and are at home. India will compete in this department. But bowling wise Eng has sure edge, quality wise but against SL they were jaded while inexperienced Indian attack is fresh & young, only thing going in their favor. Margin of error will be narrow and it will come to make critical decisions which goes to leadership and it can be a long debate who is worse Dhoni or Cook.

  • LALITHKURUWITA on July 9, 2014, 4:03 GMT

    Sl put Cook's futue on the line but India series wil hlp Cook to regin his position as the leader.

  • Insult_2_Injury on July 9, 2014, 2:59 GMT

    If England are scoring 400+ regularly (or at all) then Cooks shortcomings are ignored because an aggressive captain is less necessary, than when posting and therefore restricting opponents to smaller totals. The irony is the discussion of expecting Cook to be the type of captain unseen in an English cap for decades.

  • 11kgm on July 9, 2014, 2:51 GMT

    Cook reminds me of ponting towards the end in no way trusts his spinner. He really needs to replaced with a Clarke type captain

  • SirBobJones on July 9, 2014, 1:29 GMT

    Nobody will care, but I'm almost completely the Alistair Cook of my workplace. Dominated performance-wise for some time, not a natural leader but found myself thrust into that role by elimination, then my performance suffered and the criticism started, had rude arrogant people to deal with who didn't like me being in charge because I'm not aggressive or domineering enough to meet their definition of a successful person (let alone leader), one of the main troublemakers left as a result of my promotion, and am now like Cook awaiting a few developments here that will determine my fate. As I said, I'm aware this is irrelevant to the first day's place in Nottingham, just felt there were too many parallels not to point it out, and unfortunately for you readers, this is the forum I chose. Always thought the "I'm a Kallis not a Smith" analogy was appropriate for me, but now I think the Cook saga is even more apt.

  • landl47 on July 9, 2014, 0:48 GMT

    George, didn't Cook know before the Sri Lanka series that his seamers shouldn't be used in 10-over spells and setting fields to invite the opposition to rotate the strike was wrong? If he didn't know (or didn't believe) those things after playing more than 100 tests, what makes you think he knows or believes them now?

    As for his batting, it will be easy to tell from the first ball if he's made a necessary adjustment. If his front foot is in the air as part of his trigger movement at the moment the ball is delivered and he then puts it down before trying to move into position, he hasn't fixed his problem and he'll have a poor series.

    What I like most about Cook is his determination. However, sometimes determination slips over the line into stubbornness and Cook is dangerously near that point. Continuing to do the same thing and expecting different results can be strength or weakness- it depends on whether the problem is the tactic or the execution. Cook must hope it's the latter.

  • dunger.bob on July 8, 2014, 23:35 GMT

    If Cook can start piling on the runs again I suspect all will be forgiven.

  • sammysam on July 8, 2014, 23:32 GMT

    Indians bowlers will get cook back to form. 3 to 4 centuries from cook this series with india to lose 5-0 especially if ishant plays and india dont play a leg spinner.

  • Sexysteven on July 8, 2014, 23:10 GMT

    Even if England win against India it won't change the fact that Cook is a crap captain and shouldn't be captain if England win he would have a lot of help from the opposition to make his captaincy look good and give England false hope cos u can guarantee when the ashes come around again Clarke will be all over Cook so I would be looking for amore positive captain right now for the good of England cricket if they want to go forward

  • Vinod_Fab on July 8, 2014, 23:06 GMT

    Not only cook's captainy on the line,MSD Captaincy too is on the line..!!.. It's make or break for both of them..!!..Atleast MSD might get a lifeline of AUS tour but cook no chance if the team loses bcoz it will be 2 home series loss which would be hard to digest for cricket fans..!!.. My gut feeling says it's time for cook to resign as captain..!!.. Fingers crossed..!!

  • on July 8, 2014, 21:52 GMT

    Doesn't alter the fact that Cook's tactics on Day 4 of the last Test demonstrated a simple failure to understand the momentum of the game, to change tactics that didn't work and to realise that, as captain, he had every right - indeed the duty - to take bowlers off if they couldn't execute whatever plan there was. If indeed there was one.

    That Day 4 sealed it for me. Cook just does not get field setting, response to games or thinking one step ahead of the opposition. He is not a captain, and never will be.

  • indianzen on July 8, 2014, 21:00 GMT

    This series will end Cook's term as captain and as a player.

  • 200ondebut on July 8, 2014, 20:35 GMT

    The captains job is now just to toss up. Like Strauss before him the real captain, the person who make the big strategic decisions, remains sat in the changing room.

    England have plan A - a plan that their huge backroom staff have worked tirelessly on. As we saw against Oz and then SL, if plan A doesnt work they are like a boat without a paddle.

    That is what makes Moores appointment ever more disappointing.

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • 200ondebut on July 8, 2014, 20:35 GMT

    The captains job is now just to toss up. Like Strauss before him the real captain, the person who make the big strategic decisions, remains sat in the changing room.

    England have plan A - a plan that their huge backroom staff have worked tirelessly on. As we saw against Oz and then SL, if plan A doesnt work they are like a boat without a paddle.

    That is what makes Moores appointment ever more disappointing.

  • indianzen on July 8, 2014, 21:00 GMT

    This series will end Cook's term as captain and as a player.

  • on July 8, 2014, 21:52 GMT

    Doesn't alter the fact that Cook's tactics on Day 4 of the last Test demonstrated a simple failure to understand the momentum of the game, to change tactics that didn't work and to realise that, as captain, he had every right - indeed the duty - to take bowlers off if they couldn't execute whatever plan there was. If indeed there was one.

    That Day 4 sealed it for me. Cook just does not get field setting, response to games or thinking one step ahead of the opposition. He is not a captain, and never will be.

  • Vinod_Fab on July 8, 2014, 23:06 GMT

    Not only cook's captainy on the line,MSD Captaincy too is on the line..!!.. It's make or break for both of them..!!..Atleast MSD might get a lifeline of AUS tour but cook no chance if the team loses bcoz it will be 2 home series loss which would be hard to digest for cricket fans..!!.. My gut feeling says it's time for cook to resign as captain..!!.. Fingers crossed..!!

  • Sexysteven on July 8, 2014, 23:10 GMT

    Even if England win against India it won't change the fact that Cook is a crap captain and shouldn't be captain if England win he would have a lot of help from the opposition to make his captaincy look good and give England false hope cos u can guarantee when the ashes come around again Clarke will be all over Cook so I would be looking for amore positive captain right now for the good of England cricket if they want to go forward

  • sammysam on July 8, 2014, 23:32 GMT

    Indians bowlers will get cook back to form. 3 to 4 centuries from cook this series with india to lose 5-0 especially if ishant plays and india dont play a leg spinner.

  • dunger.bob on July 8, 2014, 23:35 GMT

    If Cook can start piling on the runs again I suspect all will be forgiven.

  • landl47 on July 9, 2014, 0:48 GMT

    George, didn't Cook know before the Sri Lanka series that his seamers shouldn't be used in 10-over spells and setting fields to invite the opposition to rotate the strike was wrong? If he didn't know (or didn't believe) those things after playing more than 100 tests, what makes you think he knows or believes them now?

    As for his batting, it will be easy to tell from the first ball if he's made a necessary adjustment. If his front foot is in the air as part of his trigger movement at the moment the ball is delivered and he then puts it down before trying to move into position, he hasn't fixed his problem and he'll have a poor series.

    What I like most about Cook is his determination. However, sometimes determination slips over the line into stubbornness and Cook is dangerously near that point. Continuing to do the same thing and expecting different results can be strength or weakness- it depends on whether the problem is the tactic or the execution. Cook must hope it's the latter.

  • SirBobJones on July 9, 2014, 1:29 GMT

    Nobody will care, but I'm almost completely the Alistair Cook of my workplace. Dominated performance-wise for some time, not a natural leader but found myself thrust into that role by elimination, then my performance suffered and the criticism started, had rude arrogant people to deal with who didn't like me being in charge because I'm not aggressive or domineering enough to meet their definition of a successful person (let alone leader), one of the main troublemakers left as a result of my promotion, and am now like Cook awaiting a few developments here that will determine my fate. As I said, I'm aware this is irrelevant to the first day's place in Nottingham, just felt there were too many parallels not to point it out, and unfortunately for you readers, this is the forum I chose. Always thought the "I'm a Kallis not a Smith" analogy was appropriate for me, but now I think the Cook saga is even more apt.

  • 11kgm on July 9, 2014, 2:51 GMT

    Cook reminds me of ponting towards the end in no way trusts his spinner. He really needs to replaced with a Clarke type captain