England v India, 2nd Investec Test, Lord's, 2nd day July 18, 2014

Cook's descent into private hell

Eventually, with the batting failures accumulating and his captaincy not compensating, the reasons for persisting with Alastair Cook are wearing out
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Play 02:42
Chappell: England in dire straits but for Ballance

Had an undertaker taken measurements of Alastair Cook as he made his way back to the pavilion, the signs could hardly have been more obvious: after another poor display in the field on the opening day and another poor display with the bat on the second, time is running out for England's captain.

Cook's failure at Lord's was familiar in every sense. Not just because it extended his run of low scores to the stage where they can no longer be ignored by an England management desperate for him to succeed, but for the manner of his dismissal. Cook, as so often, was caught behind after poking at one just outside off stump without moving his feet. He has now gone 26 innings without a century and averages 13.37 this calendar year. Those are figures that can no longer be ignored or excused.

The groan that rose from Lord's upon Cook's dismissal spoke volumes. It spoke of a crowd desperately willing Cook to succeed; it spoke of a crowd that understood how hard he is working, how much he is struggling and of their empathy for a decent man descending into his own private hell.

He had looked in better touch. He left the ball well. His defensive strokes all hit the middle of the bat and, in general, went straight back to the bowler. There was a sense that this might be his day.

And it is true that he has enjoyed little luck. While Gary Ballance benefited from a reprieve in the slips early in his century, Cook had no such fortune. And while the ball that struck his thigh pad at Trent Bridge might usually have glanced away for leg byes, it instead cannoned onto his leg stump.

But only fools and losers continually blame luck for their failings. Eventually you have to accept that if a result recurs often, there is an underlying reason.

It has not been unreasonable to keep faith with Cook until now. His long-term record remains good - though his average has dropped to a fraction over 45 - and he is, at 29, young enough to come again. But eventually, with the run of low scores growing longer, it appears ever more as if the England management are desperate for him to succeed as much so save their own face as anything else.

They staked everything on Cook. They sacked Kevin Pietersen and decided to rebuild upon the rock of Cook's run scoring. But perhaps due to the pressure that decision added, he has been unable to sustain the form required for a Test opening batsman. The management's faith and continuity is starting to look desperate rather than loyal and sensible. Just as it is becoming impossible to deny the deterioration in Matt Prior's keeping, so Cook's problems have become impossible to ignore.

While Cook is batting ever more like Mike Brearley - who, speaking on Test Match Special, questioned whether Cook would survive his current malaise - he is no nearer to captaining like him.

After an improved performance at Trent Bridge, he chased the game in the field on Thursday and suggested that all the criticism he has attracted had started to distort his thinking. Just when England needed to patiently persist on an old-fashioned line and length attack, they experimented with three men out on the hook and a round the wicket bouncer barrage. It was, by any standards, poor captaincy.

And eventually, with the batting failures accumulating and his captaincy not compensating, the reasons for persisting with Cook are wearing out. If England lose this match, a match in which they won a crucial toss, Cook's future will be hanging by a thread. We may well be in the end days now.

If and when the end comes for Cook, he might well reflect on the lack of support he has gained from his senior players. For various reasons - fitness mainly - Prior has been unable to provide the support he might have done in previous years, while James Anderson and Stuart Broad let him down with their bowling both at Headingley and in the first innings here. Ian Bell's lack of runs is bringing no respite, either.

Cook is now clinging to his position by the flimsiest of reasons: the lack of alternatives. Neither the candidates for replacement opening batsman or the opening position spring out. If they did, Cook would surely have gone by now.

The most obvious alternative as captain is Bell. He has captained, albeit on a part-time basis, with some success for Warwickshire. He showed himself to be an imaginative leader whose own game seemed to improve with the responsibility.

But not only is his own form a nagging worry - nobody doubts Bell's class but it is now 18 innings since he registered a Test century and, since the start of the Ashes series in Australia, he is averaging 27.53 - but there is some doubt as to whether he can replicate those leadership characteristics at this level.

While at county level Bell is something of a giant, respected by his peers and confident in the environment, most insiders talk of him in very different terms in the England set-up. He is seen more as a follower than a leader and there are doubts whether he could control other senior players as required.

Captaincy might well prove the making of him, but it would constitute a risk.

Joe Root also has his supporters. But just as his premature elevation to the opening spot threatened to derail his progress, so the burden of captaincy might prove unhelpful for a 23-year-old whose game is still in its development phase. He has little experience in the role - his one game as captain of Yorkshire earlier this season ended in Middlesex chasing 472 to win in the fourth innings for the loss of only three wickets - and to promote him now might risk spoiling one of the more exciting prospects in the English game.

Cook has one more chance in the second innings. But if he fails again and England lose the game, his days may be numbered. He will be batting for his future in the fourth innings at Lord's.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • landl47 on July 19, 2014, 4:03 GMT

    Cook's batting problem is technical and I'm amazed that he hasn't appeared to realize this. All he has to do is compare film footage of himself at the moment the bowler delivers the ball and Gary Ballance at the same moment. He'll find that Ballance has completed his trigger movement with his front foot and is ready to move into position to play the shot, while Cook still has his front foot in the air and doesn't put it down until the ball is on its way- and only after that does Cook try to move into position. He simply can't get into position in time, so he is playing off-balance and with his feet out of position. He's poking at the ball and as soon as it deviates he's in trouble. He must start his trigger movement earlier and as soon as he does he will improve

    There's no cure for his captaincy except his players doing well enough that it doesn't matter (see Ponting, Ricky), but his batting can be improved quite easily.

  • on July 22, 2014, 1:40 GMT

    Pigs will probably fly first, but if as they should the English drop Cook as captain, they should go the whole hog, swallow their pride, and recall Pietersen, As they likely won't, India should be celebrating at the end of the series.

  • on July 19, 2014, 15:17 GMT

    Let cook bat down the order for a match or two. Swap his position with Prior or Moeen. England team needs to be imaginative :3

  • Ms.Cricket on July 19, 2014, 14:34 GMT

    Give Cook a rest and bring back Peitersen as captain.

  • liz1558 on July 19, 2014, 14:18 GMT

    All of this was crystal clear at the end of the Australia tour. Cook managed to divert attention away from his own issues as a captain and leader by saying that it was all KPs fault. Essentially, England have lost two batsmen as a consequence; 4 if Bell and Prior are included. His lack of leadership is proving to be more damaging than anything KP ever did.

  • YorkshirePudding on July 19, 2014, 13:47 GMT

    Its a difficult one in regards to a replacement captain, the question is does anyone want the posion chalice based on how the media has gone after cook for the last 18 months, even when he was winning games in last years ashes. I see the Essex boys pushing Foster whos 36 so has only 1-2 years left, the notts boys pushing Read whos the same age.

    What they forget is that both these players were tried and they FAILED in front and behind the stumps.

    For gods sake dont give it Root hes no where near qualified and im a yorkshire supporter.

  • on July 19, 2014, 13:24 GMT

    Cook it is time to go , go before they asked you to go

  • on July 19, 2014, 13:05 GMT

    Hi to say least England team is in shambles and captain not leading by example. they are not the swame team anymore who bet everybody including au7ssies few years back. Have they any chance agaiinst revamped aussies next time. Look Amla looks atleast started as a positive captain by declaring against Srilanka venkat

  • on July 19, 2014, 13:00 GMT

    Surely the coaching staff should see what is going wrong in the field and shout instructions to the players to try to rectify wayward bowling and errant field placings. Or am I confusing this with other sports?

  • bobmartin on July 19, 2014, 12:53 GMT

    Let's look at this logically.. Cook really doesn't have anything going for him does he ? ... He's not scoring runs... he's not an innovative nor an inventive captain.. and his side is under-performing... If he was in business.. the company would be on the verge of bankruptcy and his head would be on the block. So how come he's still in post ? Is this not a case of the ECB enduring what's happening to avoid losing face given the faith they've shown in Cook thus far ? That might well be the case, but by now they are losing the confidence of the paying public and the media... So how much longer will they let this continue ?... How much further down the rankings will they let England slide until they take the bull by the horns ? .. The Aussies must the licking their lips...

  • landl47 on July 19, 2014, 4:03 GMT

    Cook's batting problem is technical and I'm amazed that he hasn't appeared to realize this. All he has to do is compare film footage of himself at the moment the bowler delivers the ball and Gary Ballance at the same moment. He'll find that Ballance has completed his trigger movement with his front foot and is ready to move into position to play the shot, while Cook still has his front foot in the air and doesn't put it down until the ball is on its way- and only after that does Cook try to move into position. He simply can't get into position in time, so he is playing off-balance and with his feet out of position. He's poking at the ball and as soon as it deviates he's in trouble. He must start his trigger movement earlier and as soon as he does he will improve

    There's no cure for his captaincy except his players doing well enough that it doesn't matter (see Ponting, Ricky), but his batting can be improved quite easily.

  • on July 22, 2014, 1:40 GMT

    Pigs will probably fly first, but if as they should the English drop Cook as captain, they should go the whole hog, swallow their pride, and recall Pietersen, As they likely won't, India should be celebrating at the end of the series.

  • on July 19, 2014, 15:17 GMT

    Let cook bat down the order for a match or two. Swap his position with Prior or Moeen. England team needs to be imaginative :3

  • Ms.Cricket on July 19, 2014, 14:34 GMT

    Give Cook a rest and bring back Peitersen as captain.

  • liz1558 on July 19, 2014, 14:18 GMT

    All of this was crystal clear at the end of the Australia tour. Cook managed to divert attention away from his own issues as a captain and leader by saying that it was all KPs fault. Essentially, England have lost two batsmen as a consequence; 4 if Bell and Prior are included. His lack of leadership is proving to be more damaging than anything KP ever did.

  • YorkshirePudding on July 19, 2014, 13:47 GMT

    Its a difficult one in regards to a replacement captain, the question is does anyone want the posion chalice based on how the media has gone after cook for the last 18 months, even when he was winning games in last years ashes. I see the Essex boys pushing Foster whos 36 so has only 1-2 years left, the notts boys pushing Read whos the same age.

    What they forget is that both these players were tried and they FAILED in front and behind the stumps.

    For gods sake dont give it Root hes no where near qualified and im a yorkshire supporter.

  • on July 19, 2014, 13:24 GMT

    Cook it is time to go , go before they asked you to go

  • on July 19, 2014, 13:05 GMT

    Hi to say least England team is in shambles and captain not leading by example. they are not the swame team anymore who bet everybody including au7ssies few years back. Have they any chance agaiinst revamped aussies next time. Look Amla looks atleast started as a positive captain by declaring against Srilanka venkat

  • on July 19, 2014, 13:00 GMT

    Surely the coaching staff should see what is going wrong in the field and shout instructions to the players to try to rectify wayward bowling and errant field placings. Or am I confusing this with other sports?

  • bobmartin on July 19, 2014, 12:53 GMT

    Let's look at this logically.. Cook really doesn't have anything going for him does he ? ... He's not scoring runs... he's not an innovative nor an inventive captain.. and his side is under-performing... If he was in business.. the company would be on the verge of bankruptcy and his head would be on the block. So how come he's still in post ? Is this not a case of the ECB enduring what's happening to avoid losing face given the faith they've shown in Cook thus far ? That might well be the case, but by now they are losing the confidence of the paying public and the media... So how much longer will they let this continue ?... How much further down the rankings will they let England slide until they take the bull by the horns ? .. The Aussies must the licking their lips...

  • RayMcCooney on July 19, 2014, 11:54 GMT

    @Cubby Kelaart: last time I checked, Petersen was still only qualified to play for South Africa,

  • on July 19, 2014, 11:51 GMT

    The captaincy is ruining Cook's career, a top batsman is wasted while his poor captaincy continues.

  • PeerieTrow on July 19, 2014, 11:49 GMT

    I agree with the contributors who say changes to the England line up are required, but I disagree with most of the proposals. For me Cook stays as captain but bats at #4. Stokes goes; how can an average of 2 in 2014 be tolerated? Prior goes and Buttler comes in; not the best glove man, but neither was Alec Stewart at the start. Adam Lyth comes in and Bell goes. Woakes is in for me; when did we last have a genuine all-rounder in England colours? Danny Briggs is in; like Botham he seems to respond best to the big occasion, and he's got a good cricket brain. My team - Lyth, Robson, Ballance, Cook, Root, Woakes, Buttler, Plunkett, Broad, Anderson, Briggs.

  • on July 19, 2014, 11:15 GMT

    Petersen urgently required as captain.

  • Clyde on July 19, 2014, 10:21 GMT

    The England crisis was about a clash between two poles and its mistake was not to throw out the whole dipole, that is, Cook was well as Pietersen, if it did not want to let the crisis work itself out. The error must continue to weigh on the English team and especially Cook. We can expect Cook to go and for the captain to be no one who was involved, not Bell, even, for all that he achieved some degree of detachment.

  • on July 19, 2014, 10:14 GMT

    Cook's time as captain should be ended and he should be dropped and given time to rest and get the mind energised again. Of course he can come back. Gooch came back from an ban. It's taken Cook 8 years to play 106 Tests: it took Gooch 18 years to hit that landmark. Not hard to see why he might be mentally exhausted.

    Broad or Anderson as interim captain. As a brave experimenting man, I'd be quite happy to drop Prior and to have either Foster or Read as vice captain to bring a new dynamic to the team. We were promised a brave new era. Thus far, we haven't got it.

  • on July 19, 2014, 9:56 GMT

    Broad should be captain. He's playing well and has captained the 20:20 side. He's strong willed and competitive.

  • amp707 on July 19, 2014, 8:57 GMT

    He should step down from captaincy. Play only as a batsman and see if it helps him regain his touch. But then, the problem is do England have a captain to replace cook? No they don't. Bell could be tried but his little leading experience. I don't think Anderson has the on-field temperament to be a captain. Prior isn't doing well himself. Broad.... maybe. England find themselves in a difficult situation. They haven't groomed their next captain. They are just hoping against hope that some day cook will find form as a batsman and also be a good captain. His batting failures aside, he has also been heavily criticised for his captaincy as well. It's just as well that they aren't playing against a very good side. Gives them time to sort out their openingand captaincy before bigger test.

  • Essexspur on July 19, 2014, 8:27 GMT

    Cook does not have a feel for captaincy and he has no experience of doing the job. Relieve him of the captaincy and let him concentrate on his batting which he will surely sort out without the pressure. Bell is going through a poor period as well, but is dodging the bullets. The biggest problem with England is Prior. I don't care how many runs he makes it is always negated by the deficiencies in his keeping. Anyone who has ever seen James Foster will know he should have been in the side for the last 10 years and certainly should play now. When people talk about Prior its all about his batting. This would suggest that Foster can't bat.If anyone has seen the way he has held Essex together over the years (admittedly in Div 2) would know he is a more than competent batsmen. Foster would simply take the catches that Prior is dropping; he would stand up to most of our bowlers to put pressure on and would create and take stumpings that Prior could only dream of. Always play your best keeper.

  • Patchmaster on July 19, 2014, 8:25 GMT

    Time to concentrate on the good (i.e. Ballance and Root and Ali) and get rid of the old and 'best years behind them' (i.e. Prior and Bell) and Cook needs to go back to County cricket.

  • Front-Foot-Lunge-Needs-A-Hug on July 19, 2014, 8:12 GMT

    @Landl47, I agree mostly but I think his technical issues come from his mental state. He looked OK yesterday when he started but it looked forced, like he was trying to remember muscle movements from a coaching session, he no longer looks natural. I think his natural game now is the one where his feet stick and he has no idea where off stump is. I'm pretty sure he's been working on it but it's just not working. I think Warne was right, a little break from the game and try to find his natural rhythm rather than forcing it in the nets. He shouldn't be captain but I don't think he's is finished as a batsman but let's see. It will take more than a ton to sort him out though, he need to be consistent to warrant a place opening the batting in test cricket.

  • St.John on July 19, 2014, 8:01 GMT

    Agree fully about Cook poking outside the off stump without moving his feet. It is a technical error the batting coach ought to have sorted out. As for his captaincy to be fair there are 10 more players in the team, and If they don't pull their weight the captain cant take the blame for everything. Was in London yesterday and saw on my hotel TV how Hussain, Atherton, and Warne were jointly critical of Cook. Warne one can understand, he is the enemy, but were Atherton and Nasser error-free as captains? Cook cant last now, but give him some credit for 25 test centuries and the Indian and Ashes wins.

  • jackiethepen on July 19, 2014, 7:57 GMT

    All the support for Cook seems to be coming from Indians. Either they are being very cynical or they are basing their judgement on one Test Series. England fans know that Cook is a hopeless captain. They have seen plenty of evidence of it. Some fans are going with the mantra that there is no captaincy material in the England side. Where did that come from? Bell has captained successfully for Warwickshire when he's had the opportunity. He was a successful captain of England A as Simon Jones reminded everyone on Sky last night. Moores first identified Bell as having a good cricket brain and a FEC. All the push for Cook has come from Flower. They were Essex team mates. Flower was obsessed with Cook as captain but it has a fatal flaw. Cook is no good. It is ruining Cook's batting and his career. Bell isn't to blame for Cook's demise or for Cook's inadequacies. But a poor captain will certainly affect the dressing room. Drop Bell who carried the batting side last summer? Class will return.

  • 22many on July 19, 2014, 7:26 GMT

    I would keep Cook as captain but bat him down the order...maybe 4

  • wnwn on July 19, 2014, 7:23 GMT

    The problem is that there is no obvious replacement for Cook as captain in the test side. Root, Robson, Ballance, Moeen and Stokes are all new to test cricket. Bell and Prior are also out of form with the bat and it's asking too much for a bowler to captain in test matches.

  • prashnottz on July 19, 2014, 7:17 GMT

    Cook can't handle pressure of the top job. With Peitersen made to walk the plank, he is now saddled with triple duties of performing as captain, opener and the side's marquee batsman. And he is not an all time great or anything to bear that much of pressure. Cook would do well to decide what's important for him, I think he should relinquish captaincy and focus on batting. Someone like Bell or Anderson can be considered for the top job.

  • on July 19, 2014, 7:12 GMT

    When Jimmy Anderson is given the judgement on the pending allegation (one way or the other), and comes back a chastened man, make him the Captain and let Cook play under him as a batsman. Try it during this series, and let us see whether it helps Cook to regain his vaunted form.

    If it works. you hit two birds in one stone. A better batsman. And a better bowler-cum-captain.

  • VillageBlacksmith on July 19, 2014, 7:09 GMT

    Cook's captaincy was ok in this match so far… but he has been let down massively by his senior players… Prior in dropping catches, (the one off Kohli could have been seen as inspired captaincy had Prior caught it last ball before lunch), Broad has also been under-performing, trying to hide/cover up a now long term injury… But Cook has been let down most of all by Bell who has 'gone missing' and who's manner of dimissal yesterday shows how tame and ineffective he is. As much spot light (if not more) should be on Bell's continual ongoing lack of performance rather than Cook's… Bell is not burdened by the captaincy but Bell's continual 10-30s are of no real use to an international test team and Bell should be replaced by Lyth. Every new face that has come in has done well this season so time to replace the ineffective Bell and leave Cook to fathom out his technical flaws.

  • on July 19, 2014, 7:09 GMT

    Cook should be sent back to Essex to rebuild his game out of the spotlight. In the meantime, we need to bring in an experienced county captain who can also bat at the top of the order. The ideal candidate would be Rogers of Middlesex, but unfortunately he's Australian. That being so, I'd go for Gale of Yorkshire, who will be easily able to slot into a team containing Ballance, Root and Plunkett.

  • on July 19, 2014, 7:04 GMT

    He may be having a tough time but please remember he is the only overseas captain to have won recently in India and has had some high scoring series .I know this bad patch has been going on since a long time but you just cant give up on a guy who has 8000+ test runs .Broad Anderson Bell Prior are the only other senior players and none of them are captaincy material abd three of them are having troubles of their own .Anderson has more runs then Prior bell and Cook so it just shows and England is too conservative to give any of the other six in the eleven the captaincy .Out of them root has played the most which is 19 tests and that is not enough .So England fans just need to support Cook and their team every team goes through this phase and ppl who want to get kp back have it all wrong as kp is past his best and was never a good leader anyways.

  • on July 19, 2014, 7:00 GMT

    I don't see why you can't share the captaincy these days as they are doing it with England now anyway? All you see on the field is Anderson and Broad chatting to each other and setting the fields , while Cook stands at slip rubbing his chin all day. So let Broad and Anderson share it?

  • ruester on July 19, 2014, 6:42 GMT

    Well the decision to discard KP is looking even more ridiculous than ever. No senior batsman making any runs and no captaincy material in the team. This disaster was bound to happen, I am no fan of. Cook as captain but I do want his runs. His man in charge, tough decision making attitude at the end of the ashes did not wash with me. I felt it was his desperate attempt to hang onto the captaincy after the ashes debacle. Currently I don't believe Cook can justify himself in the team, the run drought has just continued for far to long. He needs to step away from the team and go and correct his technical issues, score lots of runs and come back under a new captain. He has a lot to offer England in the future as a batsman but offers us nothing as a captain.

  • Mel-waas on July 19, 2014, 6:12 GMT

    Alastair Cook needs to phone Shoaib Malik, Malik hasn't performed in Last 5 years. But he still manages to stay in the Pakistan International side. Maybe he can also the secret of staying in the side without ever performing

  • on July 19, 2014, 5:28 GMT

    Cook is just one innings away from coming back to form. Every player goes through the lean patch during their career and cook is no exception. He is a fine player and that too he is playing in home conditions and so far the pitches were not prepared to suit the home conditions except this Lords Test. I am sure he will come back to form in the second innings and will continue through out the series. I was expecting Cook and Bell will score big hundreds in the first innings but that did not happen. I am confident he will be back to the limelight soon.

  • roversgate on July 19, 2014, 4:56 GMT

    I don't follow English cricket too much but what about Anderson as captain? He is a mainstay in the playing XI, leads the bowling attack and handles sticky situations with a lot of maturity (Jadeja situation didn't have any drama from Anderson in the present test). More importantly, he knows how to marshal the bowling attack and at this point it is the best England can ask for.

    The batting isn't performing on-par because of indifferent form from Cook, Bell and Prior. It is however being compensated for by Ballance and Root who are showing tremendous consistency. With Anderson getting captaincy, the bowling will be stabilized and the batting can be sorted on a case by case basis. He doesn't need to be long-term, just long enough for one of Ballance, Bell or Root to stand up and take over captaincy.

  • wouldlovetoplayagain on July 19, 2014, 4:17 GMT

    FFLNAH - I agree. In fact I think Cook should never have been made captain in the first place. He is a quiet opening batsman type who was much better when he just had one job to do. Like Justin Langer, Ian Redpath, Chetan Chauhan, John Edrich, - introverts who were good solid openers and not wanting or needing all the distractions captaincy brings. I love that sort of player - uncomplicated, hard working. Maybe Bell is the short-term solution. Just let Cook do what he is best at.

  • RR22 on July 19, 2014, 4:10 GMT

    I think Cook has plenty to offer. He's 29. That was about the age of Hussey and Katich when they started their successful periods in tests. Compare Ricky Ponting, finishing his career at 38, unrepentant and unteachable to the end, with people howling for his blood. Cook is well liked and open to development of his captaincy. What an Opportunity!!

    OK, he could have been better in the recent controversies over Butcher and Anderson's behaviour, but lets understand that Cook only defended players he needs (when he is on thin ice). England have a wonderful opportunity, if they have the metal.

  • on July 19, 2014, 3:56 GMT

    By end of monday it will be cook without a century in 27 innings.

  • SwamyCricketAnanda on July 19, 2014, 3:43 GMT

    <satire> Cook is a very intelligent batsman. In fact he is the most intelligent batsman in England. You see, he learns from every mistake he makes. And he has made more mistakes than any other batsman. Which means he has learnt more than all of them.

    Ballance is very young and inexperienced. He has not learnt much since he has not understood the many ways of getting out. Bell keeps finding exotic new ways of getting out.

    Why would the England selectors drop their most intelligent batsman? </satire>

  • Mervo on July 19, 2014, 3:26 GMT

    Either give up the captaincy or go back to County cricket to get some form. he is a class player but a liability for his team in both batting and captaincy.

  • on July 19, 2014, 3:17 GMT

    give anyone else the captaincy, even Ballance, it wont matter much at all. Then choose the most charismatic or hilarious team member for the media interactions.

  • dinuhebbar on July 19, 2014, 2:50 GMT

    Without much ego, Cook can approach 'the god of offside' in cricket available as part of commentary team from india.

  • AlSmug on July 19, 2014, 2:24 GMT

    Test cricket isnt just a battle of skills its a battle of the mind outside pressures from media and x players , self doubt got hold of Mr. Cook and I got to say his captaincy is insipid at best , without the class of kp the side looks 2nd rate a green top at lords and its even stevens lol fair dinkum im loving this :)

  • on July 19, 2014, 2:21 GMT

    Vijay not a regular off spinner but he has taken the Moeen Ali wicket. May be vijay will make 100 plus on second innings. India will win Second test.My favorite star Vijay will the second test MOP.

  • Vindaliew on July 19, 2014, 2:01 GMT

    I think for better or for worse Cook needs to be persisted with for the series - you can't change captain mid-series (although it did miracles in the 1981 Ashes.. but this time there is no Brearley to fall back on).

  • Garp on July 19, 2014, 1:44 GMT

    I question what he does in the nets? Cook is just as firm footed as he was a decade ago. He is continually undone by the same deliveries. You can spend days in the nets but if you don't work on your weaknesses what is the point? No opposing side is going to bowl to your strengths. I'd give him till this summer is over to figure it out or management must act.

  • on July 19, 2014, 1:42 GMT

    It seems to me that if England truly want to help Cook and the team, they need to ask him to focus on one thing and one thing only….his batting. He is a premier batsman, but has too many other distractions and those distractions need to be removed. Remove the captaincy and let Cook go unhindered at what he usually excels in.

  • on July 19, 2014, 1:23 GMT

    Cook is rapidly approaching a farcical situation of becoming a total nonentity in his own team.

  • on July 19, 2014, 1:21 GMT

    Cook is becoming a pain in the rear for England....

  • rohanbala on July 19, 2014, 1:20 GMT

    Feeling really sad for Cook. May be, the words of Shane Warne keep ringing in the england captain's mind whenever he comes out to bat. Cook has to come up with something extraordinary in this test to keep those hounds away who are baying for his blood.

  • JustIPL on July 19, 2014, 0:17 GMT

    Both sides have some non performers, certainly India have more than that of the England. If this test gets draw then both sides will remain to be unchanged. If there is a result then then the losing side will have to chop non performers for sure. Mistake done by dhoni was worst than the Prior.

  • DanPloy on July 19, 2014, 0:04 GMT

    Why not do a Brearley. Drop Robson and bring in Jimmy Adams from Hampshire as captain and opening bat. He is experienced, a good fielder and reliable bat, but most important, a good captain. Cook might well do a Botham as a result (in his own style, obviously).

  • on July 19, 2014, 0:00 GMT

    Whilst Cook has played many good innings for England in the past he is now badly out of form and lacks confidence in his batting. As for his captaincy I believe Shane Warne's criticism is spot on. Cook should go back to county cricket to regain his batting form and the England captaincy given to someone else.

  • on July 19, 2014, 0:00 GMT

    The end seems nigh for Cook. The obvious replacement is Pietersen but the establishment will of course not swallow their pride and will not countenance this. Prior's lack of form rules him out. As an Aussie, as much as I find the option distasteful, I don't understand why Broad isn't included in discussions re captaincy - long term player, good record with bat and ball, and now somewhat of an elder statesman. Has he expressed his disinterest?

  • nothirdman on July 18, 2014, 23:34 GMT

    Run droughts like Cook's are part of the lives of long term captains these days. It happened to Strauss, and in Australia to Border, Taylor (big time), Waugh and Ponting. They have no time and nowhere to go to fix the problems. The Aussies kept Taylor through his barren period because he was a truly great captain and it was felt (wrongly) that nobody else could lead the team. In time he recovered, as did Ponting against India, but in each case not for long. All these players were retained largely because of their captaincy. Cook by contrast is a lousy captain. All he ever did was start the bowling machine that Strauss had left him and make lots of runs himself, with his experienced cohort. All of those options are gone now, and he has nothing else. He is not a captain for a new generation. Modern teams seldom have experienced alternative leaders -- England have to pick someone and give him a go. It may not work, but it might. The present policy never will.

  • real_gone_gadd on July 18, 2014, 23:21 GMT

    Cook should have the next 3 Tests without anyone even questioning his place in the side ... the media love to print a dramatic story to boost the click-throughs, just get off the bloke's back! Same goes for Prior, he is not fully fit and is easing his way back into the side.

  • rockiniboepip on July 18, 2014, 22:20 GMT

    If he gets out and starts playing for Essex, and getting time in the middle, out of the spotlight, then the runs will come.

    Until he, and the England management do this, I have no sympathy. What a stab in the back for county cricket.

  • on July 18, 2014, 22:19 GMT

    Bring kp back as a captain

  • xylo on July 18, 2014, 22:18 GMT

    The mess of England is not just limited to Cook. While he was never a great tactician, irrespective of being a great batsman, there is nobody in the current team who could lead the team - Prior is the best possible candidate, but if his keeping/batting form is anything to go by, it will be a miracle if he does not retire midway through this series. A bowling captain simply cannot survive in modern-day cricket either.

  • on July 18, 2014, 22:18 GMT

    I'm curious why Broad isn't being mentioned as a replacement captain? He seems to have matured in the last couple of years, is the right age, has experience with the T20 side and is guaranteed a place in the side. I also feel that he'd be a bit more aggressive on the field than Cook has been.

    In fact, if you consider only those who have a modicum of experience, and who's places are not under threat, your only options are Bell, Broad and Anderson.

  • Nutcutlet on July 18, 2014, 22:17 GMT

    Personally, I think that the tipping point has already passed. This waiting for the turn-round (that one magic innings, etc.) is just not happening. Cook is caught in a web of uncertainty, anxiety, and increasingly, misery. As I commented a few days ago, he is the man in the hole with the spade. And if he won't stop digging, then he'll need to have his spade taken away from him. The selectors are caught in a situation of their own making. Alistair Cook is their man. They have done everything to make things good for him (cleared out the old guard, et al), but no one ever asked: But is he a good captain? Will he still contribute at the top of the order? The 'What if?' scenarios were never considered. There was - and is - no Plan B. And like old generals who believe only what they want to believe, they are, through their own inertia, diminishing the belief of Cook in himself and therefore leaving a young England team to drift. It is their mess and they must now address it - without delay.

  • on July 18, 2014, 22:09 GMT

    Good chirp, but cook was behind the sacking of KP, for being honest about his inability to captain in the 0-5 loss in the Ashes, without KP, Trott, Swan [and Monty] Cook is doomed, yes,stand down as Captain, continue as an opener, but please,please, no Cook mark II [Ian Bell as captain] try Root [the boy] or if too mature, let Broad be caretaker.

    Butler must come into the fray now, a must for keeping and runs, Prior has been a good servant, but his time is up and I WOULD REALLY RE THING MOORES, AND BRING BACK KP WHO STILL HAS 3 OR FOUR YEARS TO CONTRIBUTE

  • pxm1969 on July 18, 2014, 22:03 GMT

    But what exactly is the alternative? All of the 'senior' players are in decline, none of the young players are ready, so who do you make captain? Who in the county scene is crying out for a place as a Test opener?

    Obviously if this carries on England will eventually have to do something but the lack of alternatives means this is further off than you think. I think they will eventually have to look to Root. Bell and Prior are hanging onto their places by a thread, Anderson and Broad are both too controversial. The fact is that Root is two or three years from being ready so the problem is pretty near insoluble.

  • voyrison on July 18, 2014, 21:53 GMT

    Poor bloke is completely knackered. There has hardly been a let up since that first Ashes test in Australia. Before that England were winning and he was in great -form - won the Ashe's, beat India etc The over-scheduling of test matches, especially the Ashes, just doesn't allow time to recover from set backs. He deserves a rest so he can come back refreshed. Put someone like Chris Reed in charge for a year - a captain and wicketkeeper.

  • on July 18, 2014, 21:50 GMT

    I think the ECB have made their own bed and now they are lying in it. Prior is toast - he seems to have lost most of his keeping skills and confidence. Bell has lost form; Cook, meanwhile, seems to have lost his mojo and this ploy of everyone playing "happy families" has resulted in an inability to tell the bowlers what to do. When Australia were at their peak, Gilchrist and Warne didn't get on but that issue was managed by the Management. At the moment the management seems absent. When there were six fielders on the boundary against the Indian's number 10, someone should have run out sending a message on to the field saying that those tactics were flawed. I don't think I am the only one despairing as to what is happening with the England team.

  • northumbriannomad on July 18, 2014, 21:47 GMT

    I think he should be encouraged to give up the captaincy before it's too late and he ends up jacking everything in. His batting career needs to be salvaged. At the moment, he's being thrown (or throwing himself) to the wolves.

    Unfortunately, England have painted themselves into a corner and the mediocre new management team, from Downton down to Moores II, is hopelessly out of its depth. Things may have to get much worse before they get better. There's no obvious short-term solution and no obvious long-term strategy. A lost decade awaits?

  • on July 18, 2014, 21:44 GMT

    Mr cook is having Mitch johnson trauma.

  • VickGower on July 18, 2014, 21:31 GMT

    As pressure filled as the Indian setup supposedly is, people like Gambhir, Sehwag, Harbhajan went awol for 2-3 yrs before being ultimately discarded. Surely Cook has more lifeline remaining. I think he will be fine. The Australian tour was just devastating with numerous unexpected casualties. The loss of Swann, Trott, KP, Panesar, an upcoming Finn -- lack of form of other stalwarts -- Prior, Bell -- it's all too much.

  • inswing on July 18, 2014, 21:26 GMT

    Cook is going through a bad patch, but is too good of a batsman to be dropped. England should not do anything rash with him. If England lose this series to India (unlikely but possible), Cook should be removed from captaincy, but kept in the side and tried at one down position. Getting ird of the burden of captaincy will certainly help. My prediction is that there will be no need for that, and he will make a century in this series itself.

  • JaranNirsi on July 18, 2014, 21:25 GMT

    Cookie always was a nice kind of bloke,even if a operating a little self-righteous at times, and unimaginative, even up unfailingly defensive, as captain. But then these are not unique traits as England captains, and success usually washes that slate clean. Success has sadly been missing from his resume after that last edgy triumph at home against Australia. Both as captain of a team that was simply flogged out of sight Down Under, and now. Even if some success is salvaged against a relatively young, and vastly inexperienced Indian side, it does not appear at this time to be either convincing enough, or attributable to, Cook's batting or leadership. Perhaps Boycott's call for a reprieve will do him, and England, good. It's about time, even a little overdue?

  • cloudmess on July 18, 2014, 21:23 GMT

    Why is no-one questioning Peter Moores lack of tactical and man-management skills, which are already so obvious again, even after just a few games? We are currently struggling against a weaker India side than the one we beat 4-0 just 3 years ago... I keep saying this - you can sack the captain (Moores will be next to useless at helping Cook anyway), but England will never be better than mediocre again until you also sack an already tried, tested and failed coach, who was only re-appointed by Downton, Flower & co to guarantee KP's exclusion. Do we want to keep Moores on and pretty much guarantee losing the Ashes next year? It seems that we do.

  • FRpunk on July 18, 2014, 21:05 GMT

    Well He is a Modern day Great . 25 Test Match 100`s is an Unbelievable Achievement . Give him a chance in this Series , If England Lose ( Highly Unlikely ) then just Sack him as Captain and Give him a Series just as a Batsman . He`ll Do Fine and he`ll be back to scoring 100`s . Just hope this does`nt happens in this Series .

  • indianzen on July 18, 2014, 21:05 GMT

    His strokes are rather over confident. the same cook could cut the ball through point for 4, but now any more. and I feel that definitely his attitude has let him down. Modern day cricket, Technique and a Hunger to succeed may not be enough. It's how you value your opponents/bowlers.

  • dragoman on July 18, 2014, 21:03 GMT

    Bring back Pietersen. Too much pressure on Cook.

  • luggang on July 18, 2014, 21:03 GMT

    I think Cook should be rested - like Flintoff, Botham and Pietersen England have entrusted the captaincy on their best player and its a strategy that seldom works, Bell could take it on for the rest of the summer and Carberry should be recalled to open. Cook should be told to get his together and be ready for next summer when the aussies arrive

  • CodandChips on July 18, 2014, 20:59 GMT

    Cook has to go in my opinion. The lack of runs, the poor captaincy and the petty press conferences and interviews show that he's mentally scrambled and clearly not himself. He has to go.

    There are certainly options as reserve openers in county cricket. I like Adam Lyth. But there's also Compton, Carberry, Chopra, Lees.

    The real issue for replacing Cook is captaincy. As this article states there are no real options. The options in the side, Bell and Prior, are struggling. Foster/Read could come in to keep and captain but it's a risk in an unfamiliar changing room and a different level of cricket.

    Re Root, I'm not sure captaincy is a wise move yet. He's just starting to find his feet in test cricket again. Why ruin that? Yes Smith was young when he started and that proved a masterstroke, but this is too big a risk.

    Root seems to be asked to do everything. He was moved up to open to drop Compton. Then to 6 to get Carberry in. Then to 3 when Trott went. He's even reserve kept.

  • Hardy1 on July 18, 2014, 20:56 GMT

    I'm an Indian fan but I really do feel for Cook. Everything that could have gone wrong has & his confidence has been shot to pieces, & it's a shame 'cos everyone wants to see the nice guy doing well. England still have a very good chance of winning this series & I don't see Cook getting dropped unless he does it himself, at least not after this Test.

    How about Broad as captain? I don't know much about what his tactics would be like but he's more leadership material than Bell & it'd be nice to see a bowler captaining a Test team seeing as the closest to that in recent times has been Darren Sammy & Kumble before him from what I can remember.

  • on July 18, 2014, 20:50 GMT

    why not Jimmy Anderson for Captain? doesn't always have to be a batsman captain.....

  • on July 18, 2014, 20:41 GMT

    Alaister Cook took a bold decision to have Kevin Pietersen removed from England and he has been unable to walk the walk. Unless Kevin was really destroying the team from the inside there is no good reason for having cast him aside. Kevin should be back in the team. Cook no longer warrants a place as captain or batsman. May be england can find a better leader, someone who can let pietersen back into the side.

  • Madpashcrickers on July 18, 2014, 20:35 GMT

    Re lack of performance of other senior players letting Cook down - ok the following is a well rehearsed argument but as the centrally contracted players hardly play any cricket except test cricket how do you know if they're in form or not? E.g. Prior and Broad were injured at the start of the season and haven't played a lot before the tests - why should they be automatic selections? The central contracts are probably an improvement over the old revolving door days but maybe it's all a bit too static and fossilised now - the players who are actually in form in the county scene have to go through some major "performance process" malarkey before they can be deemed fit by the powers that be to represent England - during which time they probably lose the will to live while the old stagers keep plodding along regardless.

  • on July 18, 2014, 20:21 GMT

    I think Cook should stay in the team but be sacked as captain. Jimmy Anderson would make an excellent captain at the moment. He is England's go-to bowler and he clearly thinks about the game very astutely. I would make Jimmy captain. Stuart Broad's not a bad option either.

  • on July 18, 2014, 20:21 GMT

    Please Cook score runs you're still the best English test player I've seen. Without you in the test side scoring runs England will never succeed please get back to your best.

  • Kavum on July 18, 2014, 20:17 GMT

    Remember Mark Taylor's dip in form? It did affect the team but he and Australia came back stronger. Chef deserves to ride out the five-test series out and will come out stronger. He is a gutsy if not a flair player. His on-field management could be better but test cricket is a learning process. He will never be a Mike Brearley but could be like that other legend from Essex - the big G. Changing captains in midstream would be a horrendous mistake which the Indians will take fullest advantage of. The ECB should realise its not always about the money.

  • Front-Foot-Lunge-Needs-A-Hug on July 18, 2014, 20:12 GMT

    Look as an Aussie fan I'm always up for a chirp here, returning the favour to @FFL but the truth is Cook seems a really nice guy, he has played some great innings for England and his record as a batsman speaks for itself. Even I'd like him to do well. However, he isn't doing well, he can't seem to bring whatever hard work he is doing off the field out to the middle and not to repeat what everyone else is saying but anybody who knows anything about cricket can see he is going backwards as a captain. Unlike Prior who I think is finished at test level, Cook has plenty to offer as a batsman, just not now and not as captain. People say form is temporary but how long is temporary in the pressure pot of test cricket

  • Front-Foot-Lunge-Needs-A-Hug on July 18, 2014, 20:12 GMT

    Look as an Aussie fan I'm always up for a chirp here, returning the favour to @FFL but the truth is Cook seems a really nice guy, he has played some great innings for England and his record as a batsman speaks for itself. Even I'd like him to do well. However, he isn't doing well, he can't seem to bring whatever hard work he is doing off the field out to the middle and not to repeat what everyone else is saying but anybody who knows anything about cricket can see he is going backwards as a captain. Unlike Prior who I think is finished at test level, Cook has plenty to offer as a batsman, just not now and not as captain. People say form is temporary but how long is temporary in the pressure pot of test cricket

  • Kavum on July 18, 2014, 20:17 GMT

    Remember Mark Taylor's dip in form? It did affect the team but he and Australia came back stronger. Chef deserves to ride out the five-test series out and will come out stronger. He is a gutsy if not a flair player. His on-field management could be better but test cricket is a learning process. He will never be a Mike Brearley but could be like that other legend from Essex - the big G. Changing captains in midstream would be a horrendous mistake which the Indians will take fullest advantage of. The ECB should realise its not always about the money.

  • on July 18, 2014, 20:21 GMT

    Please Cook score runs you're still the best English test player I've seen. Without you in the test side scoring runs England will never succeed please get back to your best.

  • on July 18, 2014, 20:21 GMT

    I think Cook should stay in the team but be sacked as captain. Jimmy Anderson would make an excellent captain at the moment. He is England's go-to bowler and he clearly thinks about the game very astutely. I would make Jimmy captain. Stuart Broad's not a bad option either.

  • Madpashcrickers on July 18, 2014, 20:35 GMT

    Re lack of performance of other senior players letting Cook down - ok the following is a well rehearsed argument but as the centrally contracted players hardly play any cricket except test cricket how do you know if they're in form or not? E.g. Prior and Broad were injured at the start of the season and haven't played a lot before the tests - why should they be automatic selections? The central contracts are probably an improvement over the old revolving door days but maybe it's all a bit too static and fossilised now - the players who are actually in form in the county scene have to go through some major "performance process" malarkey before they can be deemed fit by the powers that be to represent England - during which time they probably lose the will to live while the old stagers keep plodding along regardless.

  • on July 18, 2014, 20:41 GMT

    Alaister Cook took a bold decision to have Kevin Pietersen removed from England and he has been unable to walk the walk. Unless Kevin was really destroying the team from the inside there is no good reason for having cast him aside. Kevin should be back in the team. Cook no longer warrants a place as captain or batsman. May be england can find a better leader, someone who can let pietersen back into the side.

  • on July 18, 2014, 20:50 GMT

    why not Jimmy Anderson for Captain? doesn't always have to be a batsman captain.....

  • Hardy1 on July 18, 2014, 20:56 GMT

    I'm an Indian fan but I really do feel for Cook. Everything that could have gone wrong has & his confidence has been shot to pieces, & it's a shame 'cos everyone wants to see the nice guy doing well. England still have a very good chance of winning this series & I don't see Cook getting dropped unless he does it himself, at least not after this Test.

    How about Broad as captain? I don't know much about what his tactics would be like but he's more leadership material than Bell & it'd be nice to see a bowler captaining a Test team seeing as the closest to that in recent times has been Darren Sammy & Kumble before him from what I can remember.

  • CodandChips on July 18, 2014, 20:59 GMT

    Cook has to go in my opinion. The lack of runs, the poor captaincy and the petty press conferences and interviews show that he's mentally scrambled and clearly not himself. He has to go.

    There are certainly options as reserve openers in county cricket. I like Adam Lyth. But there's also Compton, Carberry, Chopra, Lees.

    The real issue for replacing Cook is captaincy. As this article states there are no real options. The options in the side, Bell and Prior, are struggling. Foster/Read could come in to keep and captain but it's a risk in an unfamiliar changing room and a different level of cricket.

    Re Root, I'm not sure captaincy is a wise move yet. He's just starting to find his feet in test cricket again. Why ruin that? Yes Smith was young when he started and that proved a masterstroke, but this is too big a risk.

    Root seems to be asked to do everything. He was moved up to open to drop Compton. Then to 6 to get Carberry in. Then to 3 when Trott went. He's even reserve kept.

  • luggang on July 18, 2014, 21:03 GMT

    I think Cook should be rested - like Flintoff, Botham and Pietersen England have entrusted the captaincy on their best player and its a strategy that seldom works, Bell could take it on for the rest of the summer and Carberry should be recalled to open. Cook should be told to get his together and be ready for next summer when the aussies arrive