England v India, 1st Investec Test, Trent Bridge, 2nd day July 10, 2014

Cook's dismissal betrays frazzled mind

Some may say that the England captain's dismissal was unlucky, but it was the latest example of the demons he is battling as the form slump grows longer
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Chappell: In trying to cover one weakness, Cook has created others

It was days like this that persuaded Edvard Munch to paint The Scream, Thomas Hardy to write Jude The Obscure and Leonard Cohen to pick up a guitar. And it has been days like this that have persuaded many captains that the time has come to step down.

This was a day during which the pressure upon Alastair Cook mounted. It mounted when Matt Prior put down a chance to dismiss MS Dhoni before he had added to his overnight total. It mounted when Moeen Ali was unable to fill the role of controlling spinner. And it mounted when he saw his champion fast bowler, James Anderson, thrashed for six back over his head by a tailender who started the match with a Test average of 3.33 amid an agonising tenth-wicket partnership that left England exhausted, embarrassed and exposed.

But it culminated in Cook's own dismissal. Finally given the opportunity to make use of a pitch holding few alarms, Cook not just failed to take advantage, not just failed to mount the defence his side required, but betrayed the extent to which his own personal game has sunk.

On a wicket on which India's tenth-wicket pair had prospered simply by playing forward and straight, Cook paid the penalty for playing back and across. Instead of playing a straight ball back towards the bowler, he attempted to nudge it into the leg side and, lacking balance and a sense of where his stumps were, was bowled round his legs after the delivery brushed his thigh pad.

The generous spirited might suggest it was an unfortunate dismissal. But, if you try to play straight balls through square leg, if your balance is so poor that your head falls over to the off side leaving you unaware of the position of your stumps, such things will happen.

Previous dismissals surely played a part. Cook has been struggling outside off stump in recent months and here appeared to over-compensate by ensuring he would not be reaching at one. Such a solution simply created another problem, though.

Nor is this failure an aberration. Since the start of 2014, Cook is averaging just 13.85 in Test cricket with a top score of 28. He has not made a half-century in seven innings and not made a century in 25. If England hide behind poor fortune for Cook's decline, they are in denial.

Weariness - mental and physical weariness - might have played a part. After enjoying a spell in early afternoon where his side claimed four wickets for two runs in 21 deliveries, Cook must have hoped that India could be dismissed for a total of around 350; probably under par on such a benign surface.

Instead, for the third time in as many years, England conceded a century stand for the tenth-wicket. Yet again, Cook was obliged to force Anderson and Stuart Broad into new spells. England saw a game slip away from them and the lack of potency in their attack exposed.

Cook was left to reflect on a situation in which the English system - a system that leaves counties requiring five days of ticket receipts to afford the cost of hosting Test cricket - works against the national side rather than playing to its strengths. For make no mistake, in years to come, this rotten pitch, a slice of Nagpur in Nottingham, may be remembered as a contributory factor in Cook's demise.

There is little so dispiriting for a fielding side than a lengthy tenth-wicket stand. Not only do such partnerships frustrate and embarrass bowlers, but they dispirit and tire entire teams. Bowlers who think their work is done are forced into new spells; plans that appeared to have been working are undermined and minds that were beginning to turn to batting are forced to wrestle with an irritation that had not been anticipated.

The fact that Mohammed Shami drove Anderson for six has a significance beyond the symbolic. Not only did it underline the lack of potency in England's main weapon on his favourite surface, but it suggested a worrying tiredness at this stage of the series. With five Tests to be played in 42 days, the last thing Cook wanted was to force his strike bowler into 38 overs in the first innings of the series. Demanding such spells of such a bowler is like using a sports car to transport scaffolding.

Equally, the workload required of the seamers underlined the lack of effectiveness of Moeen. While he did not, with one full toss and one long-hop excepted, bowl poorly, he was simply unable to contain skilful batsmen in such conditions. He conceded more than five an over and, at one stage, was hit for two sixes in three balls.

Moeen may develop into a fine Test bowler but, for now, England's lack of a world-class spinner is making Cook's job, and the job of his seamers, far more demanding. It might well be relevant that Simon Kerrigan, the left-arm spinner who endured such a tough debut at The Oval last year, has acted as 12th man for England in this Test.

There were, perhaps, other signs that the pressure was beginning to distort Cook's thinking; other signs that all the criticism, all the abuse, was beginning to convince him to stray from the methods that come naturally and persuade him to experiment.

For when Shami and Bhuvneshwar Kumar came together, Cook experimented with a field that included, for a while, three short midwickets and no slips. And, for a while, he experimented with only one fielder on the leg side.

Whether such tactics were admirably inventive or the symptom of a man trying too hard to appease his critics probably depends on your viewpoint before this match began.

The truth is, Cook did not have a bad day in the field and England did not bowl badly. Quite the opposite, really. In difficult conditions Broad, in particular, displayed fine heart and skill and it is hard to think what Cook could have done differently. Until Shami and Kumar's intervention, it might even have been considered an excellent day.

But Cook's primary role remains that of an opening batsmen. And whether as a result of the burden of captaincy, whether it is media pressure or whether fate has simply mixed a perfect storm of problems, his run of grim form is turning into something of a marathon. And if he cannot make runs on these pitches… well, it will not grow any easier.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY Aju.Nair on | July 11, 2014, 2:42 GMT

    I am sure Cook will come back with a big century in the next innings he plays.We have seen Andrew Strauss doing the same when everyone said his career is over.So England supporters has to be patient for some more time.but again an England loss will be too hard for Cook to justify as they lost the series to Srilanka recently.The strength of Cook is the ability to spend more time in the crease and score the runs accordingly, but here Cook is trying to be more aggressive which is somewhat reflection of his lack of form.If he is able to face more than 100 balls in an innings, then we could see the Cook who is capable of scoring big centuries like the 294 he scored against India last time.It is little difficult under these circumstances, but all depend on Cook's ability to come back.He has to be more watchful to Shami who always prefer to ball wicket to wicket.I have seen lot of England captains loosing their captaincy in between a series, lets hope that will not happen for Cook..Godspeed.

  • POSTED BY Piyush_Advani on | July 11, 2014, 19:00 GMT

    Alastair, you are a legend in the making. Don't give up, never back down in the face of adversity. Remember, the night is the darkest just before the dawn.All you have to do..... is BO-LIEVE!! lol sorry. Been watchin' too much WWE nowadays. But I don't think Cook is gonna do well anytime soon. I think he needs to step down from the role of the skipper(after this series) and let Ian Bell take charge( Bell has a nice captaincy record in County).

  • POSTED BY manishwa on | July 11, 2014, 15:56 GMT

    I still believe that England ha a good chance of winning this test (follow-on has just been been avoided). Cook? He's a good bat - needs just one good innings of 50 or so and things will fall into place.

  • POSTED BY rizwan1981 on | July 11, 2014, 14:07 GMT

    '' the English system - a system that leaves counties requiring five days of ticket receipts to afford the cost of hosting Test cricket ''

    This is one of the main reasons the Indian batsmen do well overseas. Even WACA is not the flyer it once was whenever India plays at Perth. The Sponsors would lose millions if India are bowled out and the match is over I under 3 days , which was the norm before India became the cricket super power in the world. My own country Sri Lanka ALWAYS are forced to play England in EARLY summer when the ball is swinging and the temperature is in single digits.

  • POSTED BY on | July 11, 2014, 13:21 GMT

    Gary Ballance prime candidate for LBW on flat pitch, with his big back and across trigger movement

  • POSTED BY Puffin on | July 11, 2014, 12:45 GMT

    I would suggest Cook dropping himself down the order, particularly on a pitch like this and an attack of this ilk. He doesn't need the additional pressure of opening the batting, if there are runs on the board put there by someone else, it will help (trying to avoid suggesting how far down he should bat).

    That England spinner question needs sorting: England's pace attack is quite good, but really needs variety on a pitch like this. Any decent batsman in reasonable form should expect to prosper, as long as they don't get too carried away.

    The thing that worries me most is the prospect of more slow pitches, prepared specifically to suit the host's finances rather than anything else.

  • POSTED BY CodandChips on | July 11, 2014, 12:27 GMT

    One year is a long time without runs. Cook has a fabulous record and has done some amazing things as a batsman and captain, but I think his time is surely up.

    There's no shortage of possible openers. Lyth seems the obvious choice, but Compton, Chopra and Carberry are all there.

    The real shortage is through captaincy options. This might save Cook. The only viable options are Cook, Bell and Prior, who coincidently are probably the most droppable given recent matches.

    Best of luck. Hopefully he can score some big runs. Because when he starts accumulating runs, he is very hard to stop.

  • POSTED BY espncricinfomobile on | July 11, 2014, 11:45 GMT

    Anderson shouldn't even be playing. He is not one of England's four best bowlers.

  • POSTED BY Chris1881 on | July 11, 2014, 11:31 GMT

    If England continue to use such turgid pitches, on which play could last 10 days let alone 5, attendance & viewing numbers will eventually dwindle to the levels seen in other countries. I've baled out of the morning session to write this!

  • POSTED BY Roshan_P on | July 11, 2014, 10:50 GMT

    I am sure this is a mainly a mental issue with Alastair Cook. He needs to get back to basics with his batting technique. Also I think a lot of pressure will be taken off him if the team starts performing well and winning. His form and confidence should return then.

    I do agree that something needs to change in English cricket regarding the amount of cricket England play and the way they prepare the pitches. I think the reason for this is not enough people watching county matches, so England matches are the counties' main source of income. That may be why so many England matches are scheduled and why they prepare pitches to carry the game on to the last day. GO TO COUNTY MATCHES!!!!! ENGLISH CRICKET WILL THANK YOU!!!!!!

  • POSTED BY Aju.Nair on | July 11, 2014, 2:42 GMT

    I am sure Cook will come back with a big century in the next innings he plays.We have seen Andrew Strauss doing the same when everyone said his career is over.So England supporters has to be patient for some more time.but again an England loss will be too hard for Cook to justify as they lost the series to Srilanka recently.The strength of Cook is the ability to spend more time in the crease and score the runs accordingly, but here Cook is trying to be more aggressive which is somewhat reflection of his lack of form.If he is able to face more than 100 balls in an innings, then we could see the Cook who is capable of scoring big centuries like the 294 he scored against India last time.It is little difficult under these circumstances, but all depend on Cook's ability to come back.He has to be more watchful to Shami who always prefer to ball wicket to wicket.I have seen lot of England captains loosing their captaincy in between a series, lets hope that will not happen for Cook..Godspeed.

  • POSTED BY Piyush_Advani on | July 11, 2014, 19:00 GMT

    Alastair, you are a legend in the making. Don't give up, never back down in the face of adversity. Remember, the night is the darkest just before the dawn.All you have to do..... is BO-LIEVE!! lol sorry. Been watchin' too much WWE nowadays. But I don't think Cook is gonna do well anytime soon. I think he needs to step down from the role of the skipper(after this series) and let Ian Bell take charge( Bell has a nice captaincy record in County).

  • POSTED BY manishwa on | July 11, 2014, 15:56 GMT

    I still believe that England ha a good chance of winning this test (follow-on has just been been avoided). Cook? He's a good bat - needs just one good innings of 50 or so and things will fall into place.

  • POSTED BY rizwan1981 on | July 11, 2014, 14:07 GMT

    '' the English system - a system that leaves counties requiring five days of ticket receipts to afford the cost of hosting Test cricket ''

    This is one of the main reasons the Indian batsmen do well overseas. Even WACA is not the flyer it once was whenever India plays at Perth. The Sponsors would lose millions if India are bowled out and the match is over I under 3 days , which was the norm before India became the cricket super power in the world. My own country Sri Lanka ALWAYS are forced to play England in EARLY summer when the ball is swinging and the temperature is in single digits.

  • POSTED BY on | July 11, 2014, 13:21 GMT

    Gary Ballance prime candidate for LBW on flat pitch, with his big back and across trigger movement

  • POSTED BY Puffin on | July 11, 2014, 12:45 GMT

    I would suggest Cook dropping himself down the order, particularly on a pitch like this and an attack of this ilk. He doesn't need the additional pressure of opening the batting, if there are runs on the board put there by someone else, it will help (trying to avoid suggesting how far down he should bat).

    That England spinner question needs sorting: England's pace attack is quite good, but really needs variety on a pitch like this. Any decent batsman in reasonable form should expect to prosper, as long as they don't get too carried away.

    The thing that worries me most is the prospect of more slow pitches, prepared specifically to suit the host's finances rather than anything else.

  • POSTED BY CodandChips on | July 11, 2014, 12:27 GMT

    One year is a long time without runs. Cook has a fabulous record and has done some amazing things as a batsman and captain, but I think his time is surely up.

    There's no shortage of possible openers. Lyth seems the obvious choice, but Compton, Chopra and Carberry are all there.

    The real shortage is through captaincy options. This might save Cook. The only viable options are Cook, Bell and Prior, who coincidently are probably the most droppable given recent matches.

    Best of luck. Hopefully he can score some big runs. Because when he starts accumulating runs, he is very hard to stop.

  • POSTED BY espncricinfomobile on | July 11, 2014, 11:45 GMT

    Anderson shouldn't even be playing. He is not one of England's four best bowlers.

  • POSTED BY Chris1881 on | July 11, 2014, 11:31 GMT

    If England continue to use such turgid pitches, on which play could last 10 days let alone 5, attendance & viewing numbers will eventually dwindle to the levels seen in other countries. I've baled out of the morning session to write this!

  • POSTED BY Roshan_P on | July 11, 2014, 10:50 GMT

    I am sure this is a mainly a mental issue with Alastair Cook. He needs to get back to basics with his batting technique. Also I think a lot of pressure will be taken off him if the team starts performing well and winning. His form and confidence should return then.

    I do agree that something needs to change in English cricket regarding the amount of cricket England play and the way they prepare the pitches. I think the reason for this is not enough people watching county matches, so England matches are the counties' main source of income. That may be why so many England matches are scheduled and why they prepare pitches to carry the game on to the last day. GO TO COUNTY MATCHES!!!!! ENGLISH CRICKET WILL THANK YOU!!!!!!

  • POSTED BY Vetti_Payyan on | July 11, 2014, 9:15 GMT

    A captain is as good as his team, people always talking about tactics, intuitions etc for a captain but they always have a benchmark who's had a fantastic support from his team mates. (Ponting, Clarke, Vaughn, Hussain, Kapil, Richard etc)

    How well are the England bowlers bowling now? Being the leader of the pack, If you have a mind-set to grumble about the condition of the pitch on Day 1, what does it reflect?

    Leave the poor guy alone (Cook) and a word of advise for cook, try not to prove anyone wrong!!! Get your basics right, start doing all the things that brought you the best results and you will be fine!!

  • POSTED BY shix on | July 11, 2014, 9:15 GMT

    let the batting slump of cook be kept aside. reckon his fielding tactics and bowling change for no 11 batsmen. 3 short midwicket fielders, then 2 fielders at short cover on another instance. I could see some tactics of michael clarke yesterday at trent bridge, but at different condition and situaton. I had never seen this kind of field settings for the tail enders before. where joe root gone ? I don't know why cook didn't tried a single over with him at the end.

  • POSTED BY dunger.bob on | July 11, 2014, 9:13 GMT

    This might sound a bit excessive, but what Cook needs right now is an injury (real or imagined) that will put him out for a month or so but not affect him in the long term. That way he can withdraw honourably and work his batting woes out. He doesn't get demoted or dropped, he's simply out with an injury. .. Well may you laugh, but I've seen it happen before at club level.

  • POSTED BY wapuser on | July 11, 2014, 9:13 GMT

    Why is it that all the Indian supported are defending Sachin in comparison to Cook. No one needs to defend Sachin. He has proved beyond what he was. I guess insecurity can drive these comments. Cook will bounce back. Just give him space to breathe. The 8000 runs are not scored by fluke!!

  • POSTED BY on | July 11, 2014, 9:13 GMT

    All the talk about KP hides the simple truth that England's biggest loss in the last 12 moths was Swann. England already have new batsmen scoring hundreds for fun - yes KP might have done he same, maybe scored a few more. So what? But not having a class spinner has really hammered England. Ali is a second spinner for 4 overs a day or to bowl on turners, having him bowl on flat, low, none spinning tracks is far from ideal. Thing is England have no spinners to talk of. Seeing Kerrigan (who by comparison makes Ali look like Muttiah Muralitheran) fills me with dread. Watching Kerrigan bowl last year was a lesson in humiliation and probably gave fielders and crowd alike sore backs from watching ball after ball sail past them as he fed up a diet of full tosses, half volleys and long hops. This against Australia who are not good players of spin. Imagine serving that bowling to India or Sri Lanka?! We'd need new balls more often than Wimbledon If he's the best, we are in real trouble!

  • POSTED BY glance_to_leg on | July 11, 2014, 9:00 GMT

    My next door neighbour - until recently a county pro - remarked yesterday that he had been watching Cook in the nets and he looked utterly out of touch. Even players as brilliant as Cook have bad patches, but at the moment he is neither skippering well, nor batting well. Perhaps all he needs is one good innings, but I feel that should probably come playing for Essex. England should go back to Carberry or Compton or even try Lyth as a stop-gap measure, give Anderson the chance to skipper (for which he has always longed) on a caretaker basis, and welcome Cook back into the fold for the last couple of tests or the winter tour. He has another five to eight years left in him as the best opener in England, but at the moment he needs a break.

  • POSTED BY muzika_tchaikovskogo on | July 11, 2014, 8:58 GMT

    @Ajunair: There's one difference between Strauss' situation in 2007-08 and that of Cook: Strauss was not burdened by captaincy when he played that career reviving innings at Wellington. In fact its the pressures of captaincy which are weighing down Cook.

  • POSTED BY IndiaNumeroUno on | July 11, 2014, 8:42 GMT

    This is exactly why no one should be compared to the Tendulkars and Bradmans so early in there career. People were extrapolating the number of centuries as if he is going to score exactly ~6 centuries a year over the next 15 years and break all records... and now they want him to retire. Funny game... Cricket.

  • POSTED BY on | July 11, 2014, 8:34 GMT

    @Nutcutlet, Another Trescothick, Trott, perhaps? I can see Anderson going the same way, or maybe just do a Swanny and quit outright. Englands biggest problem is the ridiculous amount of cricket they play.

    @Cloudmess, I agree to an extent, but a lot of the problems were there before Moores showed up. I think the poms need someone like a Michael Vaughan in charge. Everything just seems too turgid as it stands at the minute. They also desperately need some proper wickets and a bloke like Finn back in the side. The smell of leather wafting past the nose and freshly cut GREEN grass would add some desperately need vitality. They don't like it up 'em sir!

  • POSTED BY Marcel_Ci on | July 11, 2014, 8:18 GMT

    LOL. ppl r funny everywhere across the globe.... last year they were telling that cook gonna break ponting's & then sachin's records in tests now they r talking of his retirement & end of career........ funny. it happens everywhere.

  • POSTED BY Yousufahmed1 on | July 11, 2014, 8:11 GMT

    @ electric_loco_WAP4 "ordinary bowler like shami" Yeah but if he wants to be a Legend of the game, he can play for SL and bowl at 115 kph ala Vaas. And will be considered their best bowler ever. Too bad he is playing for India, so by default in the eyes of Sl fans with little cricketing sense, he is ordinary.

  • POSTED BY manishwa on | July 11, 2014, 7:59 GMT

    Unfortunate dismissal? Had the ball not scraped through to the stumps - Cook would still be LBW.

  • POSTED BY Narkovian on | July 11, 2014, 7:43 GMT

    Said it before. Say it again.. COOK has got "the yips". If you don't know that term, its from golf. Usually due to scrambled brain and consequent lack of hand/eye co-ordination. Golfers rarely recover fully....

  • POSTED BY Wiffy on | July 11, 2014, 7:31 GMT

    Why should this be the end of his career? It could and should be the end of his captaincy but not his career. He's a good batsman, but the weight and pressure of being captain of this side, where so much is expected from so little talent, is obviously taking it's toll. He's being asked to be a magician when he's only a cricketer. He can't make Prior hold on to all chances, he can't inject spin into Moeen's deliveries and he sure couldn't add any fire into the bellies of his exhausted seamers. As soon as the ECB, the fans and albeit Cook himself realise that he is just mortal man, a lot of the expectation will cease and he'll resume his run scoring.

  • POSTED BY on | July 11, 2014, 7:12 GMT

    Yes, greats do go through bad spells, the problem for them is - when at their average (forget best), they set such high standards that even the marginally below average looks abysmall, invites focus / criticism which in turn distracts the player & only aggravates the situation (as in the case of Cook now, Sehwag / Sachin / Ganguly and several others earlier) If the commentators & media start looking at the other 10 Englishmen to deliver, the focus from Cook goes away & he is then fighting his internal devils rather than trying to shut the guys with the mike. Cook & English cricket both would have a better chance at success then.

  • POSTED BY Front-Foot-Lunge-Needs-A-Hug on | July 11, 2014, 7:09 GMT

    @dunger.bob, I'm glad you're not in the Aussie team you're too nice. The thing is Cook isn't too good a player to get dropped or go backwards, that's the point people seem to miss. Players need to be picked on form and he has none.

  • POSTED BY android_user on | July 11, 2014, 6:45 GMT

    You dont make 8000 Test runs if you dont have what it takes. Critics need to back off and supporters should get behind Cook. He is not scoring and he knows it.

  • POSTED BY on | July 11, 2014, 6:29 GMT

    Every greats of this game had gone through this phase ,and it's all about believing in yourself and putting up your best.I've seen people criticize him amid the fluent captaincy that he bestowed when he was on the field.It was a long tiring and exhausting day and Cook just couldn't get the grip.But he is a man of determination.He is just waiting to prove these critic screamers wrong. And trust me ,A few days from now and cook will reply with 'form is temporary but class is permanent' batting.

  • POSTED BY android_user on | July 11, 2014, 6:25 GMT

    even sachin and lara faces these out of form period with lots of criticism cook is a high-class batsman..he ll prove himself again undoubtly

  • POSTED BY SwamyCricketAnanda on | July 11, 2014, 5:59 GMT

    Agnew asked Cook to make an ugly hundred. Cook's technique looked ugly and confused in his short innings of 5. So I guess Cook has succeeded 50%.

  • POSTED BY SLSup on | July 11, 2014, 5:58 GMT

    response to SRT_Like_Whatever: talking of pitches, I hate to break this to you but the top most batting friendly countries on the planet are:

    AUS w/113 Tests @ 1103 runs per Test

    IND w/88 Tests @ 1081 runs per Test

    ENG w/128 Tests @ 1051 runs per Test

    Stats above are from the past 20 years. I think ENG has produced more batting friendly wickets than IND in that time with AUS being the worse. Fact of the matter is this ENG/IND series will produce batting friendly wickets. To know the future, look to the past.

    The issue for IND is SL having beaten ENG just before they arrived. IND cannot possibly feel they can afford to lose to ENG now!

  • POSTED BY SwamyCricketAnanda on | July 11, 2014, 5:56 GMT

    Sachin went through an entire calendar year without a century, but still averaged 45. Cook has gone for years without a hundred, but his average is miserable.

    Send him back to County cricket for a season or two, where he belongs.

  • POSTED BY karthik132 on | July 11, 2014, 5:47 GMT

    HI George. So far four test matches have been played in Nagpur (VCA stadium) and there have been 3 results. It was in Nagpur where Steyn blew away India. The only draw was against England and maybe that is why you were quick to draw a comparison to Nagpur. But seriously if you are suggesting (looks like from your last 2 articles) that English curators are taking instructions from India, ask ECB to launch a probe.

  • POSTED BY on | July 11, 2014, 5:45 GMT

    Cook has a very solid batting. He will overcome this small weakness very soon. He is the most dangerous opening batsman in tests and no one should assess him based on current form.

  • POSTED BY android_user on | July 11, 2014, 5:41 GMT

    England's demise is mainly due to the wretched form f Cooks.As Harsha said yest tht it ws Cook's hundred at ahmedabad in d losing that set d tone fr england's revival in 2012 series.Though nt necessarily Bt in my view if Cook wud hve gt atlst 1 hundred in Frst few test matches in d ashes in aus d series cud hve been diff,it js shws hw crucial his form is to d whole nation.Cometh d hour cometh d man bt d man "Captain Cook" hsn't arrived yet since d past 12 mtchs othw he won't js b losing his captaincy bt also his place in d team.

  • POSTED BY android_user on | July 11, 2014, 5:24 GMT

    Yeah, India brought Nagpur pitch to Nottingham on their backs to play well.. Ridiculous to say the least.. Tell your ECB and counties to prepare pitches according to home advantage, India didn't told you to prepare such a placid pitch even we don't prepare pitches like this..You will always find spin friendly tracks there not a placid one in test matches.. Very biased article and an excuse to hide England team's shortcomings..A very patriotic article..

  • POSTED BY SRT_Like_God on | July 11, 2014, 5:18 GMT

    @Chirag Dewani @Dinesh Kanwar sorry mate wat u know about SRT's lean patch during captaincy he have better avg than wtout captaing check it out with statsguru simple, don't be pathetic like others who says taylor, waugh, punter etc are great captains they are but what also important u have 10 other players like they have to respond ones gavasker told that if we make an infant captaining Aussiez they win like they cause all the members know there duties............and one thing also i like to mention here that all says we only play in SC condition in home not in other countries what about Eng..they win ashes in Home and lost in same condition in same passion in Australia same with aussies. we lost there and win here so make pitches for both bowlers and batsman and then enjoy the great game..........i dreamt wt could have happned when SRT played with other 10 like aussies have ....it seems wisdon ask a paper factory to supply papers for maintaing his records...hats off SRT love u..

  • POSTED BY TheBigBoodha on | July 11, 2014, 5:02 GMT

    Again I'll say it, the loss of Swann is huge for England. I doubt the tail enders would have survived long against him.

    As for Cook's run of bad luck, it is indeed a true wonder. He got the two best balls of the Ashes series too (look it up the top-ten deliveries on YouTube). But I remember when he scored all those runs in Australia about four years ago, I kept thinking this guy has incredible luck! He just kept getting dropped, or top-edging into gaps, getting called back because a spinner bowled a no-ball hit straight to a catcher... And so on. Maybe God is just balancing the books.

  • POSTED BY lingiboy on | July 11, 2014, 4:55 GMT

    Poor guy Cook! He is totally out of form. And that too, for quite some time. He had a decent run of purple patch, for a while, in between. Even in the final frontier (for overseas batsmen) India.But his purple patch, with hindsight I am tempted to say, looks like the English sun appearing occasionally in between cloud cover and spitter-spatter; if not drenching downpour!

  • POSTED BY espncricinfomobile on | July 11, 2014, 4:01 GMT

    I am a big fan of cook!yes cook is finding a way to get out.but its the luck factor has well.u stay on the field for 160 odd overs and come to bat for last hour of the day,you are always nervous as a batsmen..nothing is going in cook's way.it all started down under against mitch johnson.he pushed the batsmen on the back foot and since then cook is on back foot.captaincy has brought a lot of pressure on cook and like schin he is having a lean patch .saching also had the same patch when he was captain!!cook should try to be more positive,get on the front foot and drive the ball through covers!he will succeed

  • POSTED BY Realistic_cri_fan on | July 11, 2014, 3:15 GMT

    The article says "Moeen may develop into a fine Test bowler".No way.Even Suresh Raina is a better bowler than Ali.How can England win a single match in sub-continent with this pathetic bowler.If England plays 5 test match series against India in India with Moeen Ali as their primary spinner,then the result is 5-0.As far as Cook is concerned his days are over.You either give up your captaincy or opening batsman.

  • POSTED BY SLSup on | July 11, 2014, 3:12 GMT

    All those who criticized Dobell for calling Trent Bridge "Test pitch comes with gift wrap" hopefully feels embarassed now. But it is doubtful if some readers will remember what they wrote two days ago! A pitch on which two tailenders make hay against the likes of Anderson, Broad, Plunkett et al is not worth discussing.

    What have we got so far? - 500 runs for 11 wickets in two days. On average ENG Tests result in approx 1050 runs per Test (over the past 20 years). This Test is set to go way past that number in the next 3 days.

  • POSTED BY on | July 11, 2014, 2:46 GMT

    After seeing about 20 overs each in last session on 2 days, all I can is pitch is even more docile than Indian tracks. It is rightly being compared to Nagpur, the last pitch I saw in such mode (against Eng, 4th Test). Bangalore, Chennai, Hyd, Mohali has good carry though not much seam or swing but carry sure them have. Mumbai has good bounce too and help spinners. Delhi & Kolkata are low bounce, but these still assist spinners. Well that aside, both teams have to play on same turf. But, when we in India want our grounds to assist spinners, rightly so, why we should grudge opposition for making tracks that suits them. On this article, what this comparison of Shami & Cook? After each such inning an article like comes up here adding pressure on already lean patch batsman. Media in Eng & Ind are same. I remember sitting constantly on Sachin's back for his 100th 100. Tactically/captain he is poor but as batsman he is just in bad run, everyone goes through it. He deserve his long run.

  • POSTED BY OneEyedAussie on | July 11, 2014, 2:09 GMT

    I do feel a little for Cook. This kind of pitch massively favours the team that wins the toss and he lost it. Unless India played poorly it was always going to be uphill from there - and it turns out India played ok. It's also not Cook's fault that he doesn't have a decent spinner and so has no choice but to put extra pressure on Anderson and Broad on a lifeless surface - neither of whom are setting the world on fire in recent times in any case. His dismissal - well - the less said about that the better.

  • POSTED BY electric_loco_WAP4 on | July 11, 2014, 1:43 GMT

    Oh,the frustrations of capt. under pressure having to deal with 2 t/enders grinding his jaded bowlers for 10th W p'ship of 100.How lucky is Clarke!Though worlds best,the Aussie captain is luckiest as well.Just to have a Jonson on call in such situation.

  • POSTED BY on | July 11, 2014, 1:40 GMT

    Seems like people are reading too much into it. Just an unlucky day.

  • POSTED BY electric_loco_WAP4 on | July 11, 2014, 1:23 GMT

    Fact he missed nothing ball by ordinary bowler like Shami shuffling across to lose his stump more than any betrays his frazzled state.But what'll irk most is prospect of watching his mates 'making it large' in middle from dressing room on this featherbed.

  • POSTED BY on | July 11, 2014, 1:10 GMT

    George,

    Surely we can't let the pitch be seen as a reason or an excuse for Cook's demise? Both sides play on it, England chose no spinner, and a flat pitch doesn't mean cricket is hard. It simply requires a different strategy rather than hoping Jimmy can seam it around (which he does at an average over 30)

  • POSTED BY poms_have_short_memories on | July 11, 2014, 0:50 GMT

    Reminds me a little of Mark Taylor in 1997 or so, we'll have to wait and see if Cook has the same mettle as Tubby because in truth he is a better player than Taylor was, and also as an aussie i enjoy seeing England struggle but for god sakes do let India beat you at home, we will need some competition come the next ashes!!

  • POSTED BY ruester on | July 11, 2014, 0:10 GMT

    I want to see a batsman score runs at the top of the innings, good starts from openers lead to big totals. My view is that all players must justify their place in the side by scoring runs or taking wickets. You pick the best eleven and then the captain in my view. Lets face it, Cook is hardly the greatest captain. I don't agree that there are no viable alternatives. Bell could do it, or if the selectors think Root will be around for a long time then why not him? Smith was very young and inexperienced when he was made captain of South Africa. What i really would like to se is KP brought into the side and let him be captain. If Moores can be welcomed back ....why not KP!

  • POSTED BY cloudmess on | July 11, 2014, 0:07 GMT

    The pundits, led by Ian Chappell and Shane Warne, are lining up to put all the blame at Cook's door, but what about Peter Moores? When Moores was in charge last time we lost series to all but the weakest world sides - so we shouldn't be too surprised when the same thing begins to happen now. Is it going to take until August 2015 (and another lost Ashes) before we realise Moores just does not have the ability to coach at international level? He should go now. Aside from the absurd sacking of KP, and the poor man-management which has resulted in the loss of vulnerable but talented players like Trott and Panesar, England are handicapping themselves with some awful tactics - the reason they couldn't bowl India out today is because they picked a county-style attack with only 3 proper bowlers; as a result the precious but exhausted Anderson continues to be used as a stock rather than strike bowler.

  • POSTED BY espncricinfomobile on | July 10, 2014, 23:55 GMT

    No captain will do well under Peter as the coach. So Cook with so much talent struggling for form needs an Andy Flower to guide him now than ever before. They're all distracted by the KP issue and not focusing on basics.

  • POSTED BY sujith_sri on | July 10, 2014, 23:52 GMT

    Yet another English whinge about the pitch. God alone knows how many more such articles we are going to be subjected to before the summer ends. One thing is quite clear - if England lose the series, it would be because of the pitch and not because India played better. When England won in India, there weren't too many complaints about the pitches. When England won the ashes 3-0 last summer, I don't remember any Englishmen complain about the pitch. But now the pitches are the source of all English problems including "Cook's demise"!

  • POSTED BY dunger.bob on | July 10, 2014, 23:32 GMT

    Since Cook is the leader of our greatest sporting rival I should be happy about his unhappiness. I'm just not though. If anything, I feel a bit sad for him.

    I'm sure he'll come good eventually. He's too good a player to simply slide out backwards like this. .. a bit of patience, a lot of support and some good performances by his team mates is all that's required for him to regain his mojo imo. Maybe.

  • POSTED BY baskar_guha on | July 10, 2014, 23:22 GMT

    It is not just Cook who is in bad form. You too are playing the same shot again and again. Nagpur in Nottingham. Please move on.

  • POSTED BY jackthelad on | July 10, 2014, 23:11 GMT

    On this track, you would expect Muralitharan to make fifty; and he didn't have a great reputation as a batsman! Cook is not in a slump, he is in a place he should never have accepted in the first place; he's been criticised as a captain from the start - simply because he is a very bad one - and it has destroyed his form as England's premier batsman. He can do 'batsman', I don't believe he can do 'captain' - give up the one that doesn't fit, eh?

  • POSTED BY Sexysteven on | July 10, 2014, 23:06 GMT

    Yea what to do about cook I'm sure his batting will come good eventually but how long do you give him no doubt the pressure has got to him he has to keep being captain for this series now maybe it's a case of trying take the pressure off him in between test no media commitments no training maybe even let him go somewhere so he can take his mind off cricket for abit so he can uncluttered his scrambled mind any things worth atry I reckon he might not be agood captain but they do need his batting to come good he's agood batsman and when the runs come back that will help that whole team to get confidence back

  • POSTED BY on | July 10, 2014, 22:57 GMT

    Feel bad for Moeen - he's getting pasted by players who love playing spin, and who are on a flat pitch having got their eyes in patting the fast bowlers around. Plus he doesn't really get given a decent length spell...until it's too late.

    Whilst missing Shami's edge would have been agonising - the main pain would have come from Prior's drop of Dhoni - opposing captain, quick scorer, etc - plus another example of a senior member of the team letting Cook down. I would not want to be in his shoes right now - pain all around :/

  • POSTED BY jackiethepen on | July 10, 2014, 22:48 GMT

    There is a strange parallel in the form of Kevin Pietersen. Since the parting of the ways, both batsmen have been hideously out of form in a mirror image of each other. It says a lot about the impact of the break up that neither has prospered. Perhaps the only solution is that they actually need each other? It has been a very poor divorce and it has affected the England camp, especially the senior players. They have all too much to prove? Strength in unity? Weaker asunder?

    The pitch didn't suit and flatter everyone in the Indian team. Pujara, Kohli, Jadega all got out cheaply.

  • POSTED BY dorothydix on | July 10, 2014, 22:39 GMT

    The poor guy is not captaincy material. Put I'm out of his pain give him a rest and let Bell captain. Nice article George. There is an important place for intelligent writers who have not played professionally themselves but understand the game.

  • POSTED BY MarinManiac on | July 10, 2014, 22:35 GMT

    If Cook were not captain, his lack of form would demand he be dropped. His captaincy has been poor for some time now as well -- Shane Warne was totally right. It's time for him to take a rest from Test cricket. Who takes over as captain? Not sure, but it has to be someone who can get past this string of 10th wicket partnerships that England, in the last few years, seem to put on huge totals every time. If it was Jimmy Anderson who'd come up with the inventive fields at Lord's, well, perhaps Anderson is the one with the tactical nous. It sure isn't Cook, and his lack of runs anywhere else in the order (pecking or batting) would precipitate the call to return to county cricket and regain form.

  • POSTED BY espncricinfomobile on | July 10, 2014, 22:28 GMT

    Whilst Cook continues to use his present stance and trigger movement he will struggle to score runs. He needs to really question the coaching advice he is receiving. He needs to stop and think about the geometry of the cricket pitch, the stumps, where the bowler is position on the return crease. With the correct advice he could return to his former level of excellence.

  • POSTED BY on | July 10, 2014, 22:26 GMT

    I wish, for the sake of English cricket Cook does the honourable thing and resign as captain. Besides I cannot bear to see a world class batsman only a couple of years ago struggle to get the basics in batting technique right. Perhaps a lengthy leave from cricket or playing for the England Lions for the next 12 months might make him rediscover his technique and form!!

  • POSTED BY espncricinfomobile on | July 10, 2014, 22:22 GMT

    Whilst Cook continues with his present stance and trigger movement how

  • POSTED BY alexkrish on | July 10, 2014, 22:19 GMT

    Why are we blaming the pitch? This is not a "soggy pan" that swings, seems and bounces so that the game ends in three days. At the same time it is not a "dust bowl" that grips, turns and bounces to end the game within three days either. This is a perfect test match pitch that requires three skillful pace bowlers and at least one talented spinner and five or six patient top order batsmen. This pitch will test the endurance, skill, cricket intelligence etc. I love it. We decided to go with a specialist batsman instead of a specialist spinner. That was team director's decision. Why blame the pitch? It is not that Indians scored 4 an over anyway. The fact is that Cook missed one of the greatest opportunities to get back to his form on this pitch. He missed it. The excuse is that the 10th wicket played too long because the pitch is too bad!

  • POSTED BY landl47 on | July 10, 2014, 22:06 GMT

    If Cook didn't have bad luck, he'd have no luck at all. I'm not excusing his short-comings; his captaincy was a little better in this innings, but still not inspiring and his batting problems seem to be the same as they have been all year. However, to have Dhoni dropped right at the start of the day, to have Shami caught only for no-one except Cook himself to realize it, and to be bowled round his legs by a ball hitting the underside of his thigh pad is more bad luck than one captain/batsman should have in a test series, let alone a day.

    But then, nobody ever said cricket, or life, is fair.

  • POSTED BY Nutcutlet on | July 10, 2014, 21:56 GMT

    Cook's nightmare continues. It would be heartless not to feel for him. He has everyone's sympathy. We wish he could find batting form and thus rediscover happiness. But it's just not happening. He has worked his socks off. He's probably spent hours with his mentor, Graham Gooch, and plays bowling in his sleep. Unfortunately, like the man with the shovel, the more he digs the deeper the hole gets -- climbing out is getting more and more difficult. He needs a rest. Someone needs to get the shovel out of his hands; it's not helping. He should go away and relax and get his mind off batting, captaincy and cricket altogether. This is a call that the ECB has to make because Cook's bloody-minded determination will otherwise consume him and send his mind into a place it should never be allowed to go. The ECB is appalling on matters of the mind, but here they must act -- and very soon. If they do not, then they are culpable of not showing proper care for their appointed captain.

  • POSTED BY dorothydix on | July 10, 2014, 21:48 GMT

    The poor guy is not captaincy material. Put I'm out of his pain give him a rest and let Bell captain. Nice article George. There is an important place for intelligent writers who have not played professionally themselves but understand the game.

  • POSTED BY willsrustynuts on | July 10, 2014, 21:47 GMT

    George, George, George. How do I say this? Let's. Let. Both. Teams. Bat. Before. We. Make. A. Final. Assessment. Of. The. Pitch.

    Yes, it is dire fair and if you ever wondered why test cricket in India is dying, then wonder no more. This series could spell the end of a few England careers.

    The truth is that the big problems in English cricket are on the other side of the rope. The team will come good again when the management and leadership are jettisoned. Your insight into why test grounds need to have the 5 days cricket is so revealing.

    Just tell me who it was that let the bean counters take charge again? It sure wasn't anyone I ever meet at a cricket match, so who was it?

  • POSTED BY mumbaiguy79 on | July 10, 2014, 21:45 GMT

    Now hold on for a second, what has Nagpur got do with this? You will see such pitches in Australia (SCG), all over Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. No one asked England to prepare such a pitch and hence reference to Nagpur (as a rotten pitch) is uncalled for.

  • POSTED BY on | July 10, 2014, 21:41 GMT

    Cook should be replaced as Captain and Opener immediately. Bell should take over captaincy, let Cook go back to county Cricket and regain his confidence as a batsman. If he is not confident about his batting, he will not be confident about his captaincy and that will go down the chain.

  • POSTED BY rick333 on | July 10, 2014, 21:32 GMT

    'Nagpur pitch' assists spinners. It provides turn and bounce where the like of Swann and Panesar reap 5 fors. Face it, this pitch is worst and England bowlers are overrated. They can only come on top 'IF' condition favour them.

  • POSTED BY akpy on | July 10, 2014, 21:25 GMT

    This happens with almost every batsman who play > 100 tests. You find new ways of getting out. Cook will soon emerge in this very series as India usually encourages out-of-form batsmen and/or debutants.

  • POSTED BY B.R.K.R on | July 10, 2014, 21:24 GMT

    i think cook needs to be relieved of the burden of captaincy and let him focus on getting his rhythm with the bat, the pressure is clearly showing on him and rubbing off on the team as well, maybe broad or bell should take over till cook regains form.

  • POSTED BY ac_Indian on | July 10, 2014, 21:23 GMT

    George, I enjoy your reporting and politeenquiries, but I honestly think you are going a little too far with the pitch issue. Yes, undoubtedly the pitch is unusual for Trent Bridge and not what England would want but to suggest that "this rotten pitch ...., may be remembered as a contributory factor in Cook's demise" is going too far. Yes this pitch is not typically English, but it won't bring careers to an end. If Cook had settled, this very pitch might have been the cause of him coming back to form, and as an Indian fan, this is the scenario I was concerned about, i.e., Cook coming back to form because of this pitch.

  • POSTED BY VickGower on | July 10, 2014, 21:17 GMT

    If I get this article right, a contributing reason to Cook's demise, as a batsman as much, is that this pitch is rather flat.

  • POSTED BY Jollifier on | July 10, 2014, 20:54 GMT

    Cook has tried so hard to convince everyone that he is a natural captain, that now his batting is suffering. Cook is a quiet reserved choir boy , born on Christmas day, he is a typical follower, not leader of men, and should never have been given ascendancy to the captaincy, but left to concentrate on his batting

    His decision to sack KP too, must be resonating in the back of his mind, as I'm not sure the likes of Robson, Ballance, Ali are going to score hundreds after their techniques and apparent weaknesses are sussed. Ballance's back and across trigger movement wont work on the new dry pitches, he will get LBW more often, so KP will be missed as will Trott, all this playing on Cooks mind, does not liberate him to bat

    India will retire Cook the captain

  • POSTED BY android_user on | July 10, 2014, 20:51 GMT

    This series will not only decide cook's captaincy but also his future as England seems to bring new faces.... Cook has failed in this test as a captain as well as player....

  • POSTED BY on | July 10, 2014, 20:48 GMT

    I don't understand this issue of counties requiring Test matches to go five days in order to pay for the cost of hosting one. In England, there's so much T20 cricket played domestically, and ODIs are usually packed. I'm sure they get lots of money from that, which they can use to pay for Test cricket. Why do they have to make Test matches last 5 days?

  • POSTED BY tests_the_best on | July 10, 2014, 20:44 GMT

    Although I am an Indian fan and don't want to see Cook piling on runs, it will be unfortunate if Cook continues to fail as he has the right test match temperament beside coming across as a nice bloke. Maybe he should step down as captain and focus more on his batting. Contrast with MS Dhoni who struggles with the bat quite a bit on overseas tours but since he usually comes in at no 7, his batting is not as critical for the team as Cook's. He could also consider dropping down the order to regain form.

  • POSTED BY tests_the_best on | July 10, 2014, 20:44 GMT

    Although I am an Indian fan and don't want to see Cook piling on runs, it will be unfortunate if Cook continues to fail as he has the right test match temperament beside coming across as a nice bloke. Maybe he should step down as captain and focus more on his batting. Contrast with MS Dhoni who struggles with the bat quite a bit on overseas tours but since he usually comes in at no 7, his batting is not as critical for the team as Cook's. He could also consider dropping down the order to regain form.

  • POSTED BY on | July 10, 2014, 20:48 GMT

    I don't understand this issue of counties requiring Test matches to go five days in order to pay for the cost of hosting one. In England, there's so much T20 cricket played domestically, and ODIs are usually packed. I'm sure they get lots of money from that, which they can use to pay for Test cricket. Why do they have to make Test matches last 5 days?

  • POSTED BY android_user on | July 10, 2014, 20:51 GMT

    This series will not only decide cook's captaincy but also his future as England seems to bring new faces.... Cook has failed in this test as a captain as well as player....

  • POSTED BY Jollifier on | July 10, 2014, 20:54 GMT

    Cook has tried so hard to convince everyone that he is a natural captain, that now his batting is suffering. Cook is a quiet reserved choir boy , born on Christmas day, he is a typical follower, not leader of men, and should never have been given ascendancy to the captaincy, but left to concentrate on his batting

    His decision to sack KP too, must be resonating in the back of his mind, as I'm not sure the likes of Robson, Ballance, Ali are going to score hundreds after their techniques and apparent weaknesses are sussed. Ballance's back and across trigger movement wont work on the new dry pitches, he will get LBW more often, so KP will be missed as will Trott, all this playing on Cooks mind, does not liberate him to bat

    India will retire Cook the captain

  • POSTED BY VickGower on | July 10, 2014, 21:17 GMT

    If I get this article right, a contributing reason to Cook's demise, as a batsman as much, is that this pitch is rather flat.

  • POSTED BY ac_Indian on | July 10, 2014, 21:23 GMT

    George, I enjoy your reporting and politeenquiries, but I honestly think you are going a little too far with the pitch issue. Yes, undoubtedly the pitch is unusual for Trent Bridge and not what England would want but to suggest that "this rotten pitch ...., may be remembered as a contributory factor in Cook's demise" is going too far. Yes this pitch is not typically English, but it won't bring careers to an end. If Cook had settled, this very pitch might have been the cause of him coming back to form, and as an Indian fan, this is the scenario I was concerned about, i.e., Cook coming back to form because of this pitch.

  • POSTED BY B.R.K.R on | July 10, 2014, 21:24 GMT

    i think cook needs to be relieved of the burden of captaincy and let him focus on getting his rhythm with the bat, the pressure is clearly showing on him and rubbing off on the team as well, maybe broad or bell should take over till cook regains form.

  • POSTED BY akpy on | July 10, 2014, 21:25 GMT

    This happens with almost every batsman who play > 100 tests. You find new ways of getting out. Cook will soon emerge in this very series as India usually encourages out-of-form batsmen and/or debutants.

  • POSTED BY rick333 on | July 10, 2014, 21:32 GMT

    'Nagpur pitch' assists spinners. It provides turn and bounce where the like of Swann and Panesar reap 5 fors. Face it, this pitch is worst and England bowlers are overrated. They can only come on top 'IF' condition favour them.

  • POSTED BY on | July 10, 2014, 21:41 GMT

    Cook should be replaced as Captain and Opener immediately. Bell should take over captaincy, let Cook go back to county Cricket and regain his confidence as a batsman. If he is not confident about his batting, he will not be confident about his captaincy and that will go down the chain.