England v India, 3rd Investec Test, Ageas Bowl July 24, 2014

Cook's lonely battle to survive

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West End, a village to the north-east of Southampton and home to the Ageas Bowl, is a bit of a ghost town nowadays. Southampton is a university town, full of students. The students have all gone back home for the summer break. For those left behind it has simply been too hot to venture out. It has not been raining yet, it has been humid because of the proximity to the sea, and temperatures have been touching early 30s over the last week or so. You will struggle to find people outside in the afternoon.

No matter how sleepy the environs might be, those interested in England cricket can feel the importance of the coming weekend for one man and his team. It hangs there like the humidity.

England are one match down in a series of five. The captain Alastair Cook, the basket in which England cricket chose to put all its eggs, has hardly scored a run. The seniors have been letting down the newcomers. Some have called Cook's refusal to give up captaincy defiance and even a cry for help - "I am not going until I feel a tap on my shoulder"; some call it denial and possibly arrogance. If England lose the series, Cook will most likely have to go. There are other careers hanging in the balance, too.

It was mildly surprising then that three days before the Test India were the only team training. It can sometimes pay to go away from the cricket and come back refreshed, but three days away from it would have been a bit much. Around the time India were leaving, at around 4.30pm, in came Alastair Cook, wearing shorts that seemed too loose, falling off his waist. There are bigger things he needs to get a grip on right now.

Cook went up to the England dressing room, and soon coach Peter Moores followed. By now it was only Cook, Moores and a few groundsmen in the ground. Minutes later they asked Nigel Gray, the head groundsman, to join them. A chat was had after which Gray proceeded to water the pitch, which looks green but not as green as the one at Lord's, and the captain-coach duo went to a net at the edge of the square.

A lady of Indian origin, who had been there for India nets and had seemed pretty pleased with how England had been beaten at Lord's, said "good luck Alastair" as Cook walked towards the ground, now dressed in England training kit, with helmet and pads on. "Thanks," said Cook. "I feel sad for him," she said after Cook had left. That glee of having seen England lose had gone. Further endorsement to the belief that Cook is a decent allround bloke.

The next week, though, is not about being decent. It is one of the most important weeks of Cook's career. And he is not taking it lightly. Much like they were on the Lord's balcony about three hours after the defeat, Cook and Moores were working at things again. Cook at least has thousands of runs to go by, Moores might not have a leg to stand on should they lose here and concede an unassailable lead. The two went out, did not take a look at the pitch, and headed straight to the net. A few gentle throwdowns from 15 yards were followed by proper ones from the Sidearm from a full pitch length.

There was a moment of concern in the first few minutes of the session. Moores walked towards Cook, and they both looked at his finger for what seemed like two minutes. Cook then strapped the glove back on, and went into a long session.

The lady who wished Cook luck left soon. The groundsmen followed not much after. Two men fighting to save their careers continued preparing alone in a desolate ground in a desolate town. Two men who are supposed to have preferred fit-in culture to misfit match-winners.

One of those misfits, a possible match-winner, Michael Carberry, was here earlier in the day, practising with his Hampshire team-mates, after which he did a photoshoot in whites. Those were not the England slightly-blue whites, though. Times are desperate for England, but it is difficult to see how Carberry will get another chance.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY on | July 26, 2014, 9:12 GMT

    Funny picture - mores bowling to Cook. If Al can handle him, it proves little, and if he can proves a great deal. Perhaps aking Broad, Anderson et al to bowl at him might give hime better practice.

  • POSTED BY GregWG on | July 26, 2014, 8:13 GMT

    First-hand observation, insight, empathy, the strange contradiction of desperately wanting to beat someone who you, on a personal level, you would quite like to see succeed; you capture it all. What a super bit of writing.

  • POSTED BY landl47 on | July 25, 2014, 22:50 GMT

    Whether Cook's work will pay off depends entirely on what he is working on. If he's getting into position earlier so that he has more time to play his shots, then I expect to see him make runs before long. If he's still got his front foot in the air when the bowler delivers, puts it down and then tries to get into position, he's going to keep failing. Watch his feet and you'll know from the first ball which way it's going.

    I don't think his batting has much to do with his captaincy, which I thought improved in the last game after a poor first morning. England's batting problems are more to do with the fact that in the 4 tests England have played this Summer only he and Bell have failed to score a hundred and Cook himself has failed to reach 30. That means a poor start to every innings and it's hard for any side to overcome that. If he and Bell start making the runs expected of them, the young guys have shown that they're good enough.

  • POSTED BY on | July 25, 2014, 20:58 GMT

    No one doubts Cook is a nice bloke. But no England supporter thinks 7 losses and 2 draws in the last 9 tests is acceptable. I don't know what the problem is (or problems are). Burn out from too much cricket? Post Mitch shell shock? Might explain the collapse against the short ball and the fact that the seniors are all out of form. Thee senior batsmen (Cook and Bell) aren't scoring, and the senior bowlers (Anderson and Broad) keep bowling short wide rubbish, which is why opposition tails score so heavily. Something needs to change or results will continue to slide. Broad needs to rest his injury, and Anderson just needs a rest. England also score too slowly (the current team scores at about 2.5 an over, rather than the 3.7 or so of 2005). There's no entertainment and no success. Crowds will soon start to leave if this continues.

  • POSTED BY Leggie on | July 25, 2014, 17:34 GMT

    @Vicky_Maly: Pujara is certainly not in poor form. He played a crucial role on that first morning that made a *huge* difference in the context of the game. He was on song in the second innings, but lost it just about. Dhawan was looking wonderful in the second before he was brilliantly caught by Root. The fact that India has not been defeated despite no big scores from Pujara/Kohli and Dhawan is testimony to India's resolve. Even if they lose the remaining 3 Tests, Indian fans will still cherish the memories of their win at Lords!

  • POSTED BY on | July 25, 2014, 17:10 GMT

    maybe England can open with Moeen Ali , he has opened in fc matches for Worcs , and Cook can bat .. on number , Cook would be more comfortable when the ball will get older and get rid of swing bowling , it will be good for his confidence

  • POSTED BY on | July 25, 2014, 13:24 GMT

    Cook is a nice bloke. I hope that the captaincy burden is taken off him and he scores some runs in the remainder of the series, and India still wins the series! Wishes from an Indian fan to a gentleman cricketer

  • POSTED BY Johnny_129 on | July 25, 2014, 12:11 GMT

    Totally agree with opto_pus on (July 25, 2014, 10:59 GMT) - India need to go for the throat. If there is ever a time to go for the kill, it is now!! Aaron, Pankaj or Pandey for Binny. But knowing India, they will try and protect a one game advantage by replacing Binny with Rohit or not making a change, at all!!

  • POSTED BY espncricinfomobile on | July 25, 2014, 12:03 GMT

    @Jeff. Great insight ha ha. Spot on too.

  • POSTED BY Johnny_129 on | July 25, 2014, 11:54 GMT

    Has Cook lost the support of his team? They all seemed pretty together (a team) when ousting Pietersen. BUT now there seems to be a rift within the team even if the word is not getting out. The England players look unmotivated and disinterested (similar to what Pietersen was accused of). Broad knows that he is next in line for captaincy!!

  • POSTED BY on | July 26, 2014, 9:12 GMT

    Funny picture - mores bowling to Cook. If Al can handle him, it proves little, and if he can proves a great deal. Perhaps aking Broad, Anderson et al to bowl at him might give hime better practice.

  • POSTED BY GregWG on | July 26, 2014, 8:13 GMT

    First-hand observation, insight, empathy, the strange contradiction of desperately wanting to beat someone who you, on a personal level, you would quite like to see succeed; you capture it all. What a super bit of writing.

  • POSTED BY landl47 on | July 25, 2014, 22:50 GMT

    Whether Cook's work will pay off depends entirely on what he is working on. If he's getting into position earlier so that he has more time to play his shots, then I expect to see him make runs before long. If he's still got his front foot in the air when the bowler delivers, puts it down and then tries to get into position, he's going to keep failing. Watch his feet and you'll know from the first ball which way it's going.

    I don't think his batting has much to do with his captaincy, which I thought improved in the last game after a poor first morning. England's batting problems are more to do with the fact that in the 4 tests England have played this Summer only he and Bell have failed to score a hundred and Cook himself has failed to reach 30. That means a poor start to every innings and it's hard for any side to overcome that. If he and Bell start making the runs expected of them, the young guys have shown that they're good enough.

  • POSTED BY on | July 25, 2014, 20:58 GMT

    No one doubts Cook is a nice bloke. But no England supporter thinks 7 losses and 2 draws in the last 9 tests is acceptable. I don't know what the problem is (or problems are). Burn out from too much cricket? Post Mitch shell shock? Might explain the collapse against the short ball and the fact that the seniors are all out of form. Thee senior batsmen (Cook and Bell) aren't scoring, and the senior bowlers (Anderson and Broad) keep bowling short wide rubbish, which is why opposition tails score so heavily. Something needs to change or results will continue to slide. Broad needs to rest his injury, and Anderson just needs a rest. England also score too slowly (the current team scores at about 2.5 an over, rather than the 3.7 or so of 2005). There's no entertainment and no success. Crowds will soon start to leave if this continues.

  • POSTED BY Leggie on | July 25, 2014, 17:34 GMT

    @Vicky_Maly: Pujara is certainly not in poor form. He played a crucial role on that first morning that made a *huge* difference in the context of the game. He was on song in the second innings, but lost it just about. Dhawan was looking wonderful in the second before he was brilliantly caught by Root. The fact that India has not been defeated despite no big scores from Pujara/Kohli and Dhawan is testimony to India's resolve. Even if they lose the remaining 3 Tests, Indian fans will still cherish the memories of their win at Lords!

  • POSTED BY on | July 25, 2014, 17:10 GMT

    maybe England can open with Moeen Ali , he has opened in fc matches for Worcs , and Cook can bat .. on number , Cook would be more comfortable when the ball will get older and get rid of swing bowling , it will be good for his confidence

  • POSTED BY on | July 25, 2014, 13:24 GMT

    Cook is a nice bloke. I hope that the captaincy burden is taken off him and he scores some runs in the remainder of the series, and India still wins the series! Wishes from an Indian fan to a gentleman cricketer

  • POSTED BY Johnny_129 on | July 25, 2014, 12:11 GMT

    Totally agree with opto_pus on (July 25, 2014, 10:59 GMT) - India need to go for the throat. If there is ever a time to go for the kill, it is now!! Aaron, Pankaj or Pandey for Binny. But knowing India, they will try and protect a one game advantage by replacing Binny with Rohit or not making a change, at all!!

  • POSTED BY espncricinfomobile on | July 25, 2014, 12:03 GMT

    @Jeff. Great insight ha ha. Spot on too.

  • POSTED BY Johnny_129 on | July 25, 2014, 11:54 GMT

    Has Cook lost the support of his team? They all seemed pretty together (a team) when ousting Pietersen. BUT now there seems to be a rift within the team even if the word is not getting out. The England players look unmotivated and disinterested (similar to what Pietersen was accused of). Broad knows that he is next in line for captaincy!!

  • POSTED BY GeoffreysMother on | July 25, 2014, 11:00 GMT

    A nice article giving some good insight. I just thought the last bit was a bit poor: - Carberry has never been in a 'match winning' situation for England. - Pietersen's form is as bad as Cook's. He has not passed 50 in domestic cricket since being axed and in Surrey's last two matches was in the position to take them home comfortably and was out - leaving the match winning to supposedly lesser players. Assuming 'difficult players' are automatically 'match winners' needs a bit more evidence. Tendulkar, Dravid, Hussey, Kallis, Amla were never 'difficult' but they won their share of matches.

  • POSTED BY opto_pus on | July 25, 2014, 10:59 GMT

    If Varun Arron is added instead of Stuart Binny it could be currtains for Cooks career sooner then expected, I expect the Indians to bring Arron insead of Binny if the pitch is as good a seaming wicket as lords was.

  • POSTED BY on | July 25, 2014, 10:28 GMT

    1. Cook should go knocking on Gooches door and profusely apologise and use him as his batting coach on a personal level. They have worked together for all of cooks career and he didn't do too badly did he?! 2. NO MORGAN. He isn't a stand out captain like Breaerly or Vaughan or Hussain. And he couldn't justify his place in the team under any circumstances. 3. If cook fails again in the rest of the series I would throw caution to the wind and give the captaincy to Joe Root - he seems full of fire and determination and may bring some adrenalin into the team. 4. Cook needs to just concentrate on his batting right now and I think the selectors are being very selfish in keeping him in this constant pressure cooker (no pun intended!) environment that would already have destroyed a lesser man!

  • POSTED BY Nutcutlet on | July 25, 2014, 9:44 GMT

    I found this article both melancholy and poignant. Alistair Cook certainly does work his socks off. He is a man of tremendous dedication and determination, but how many extra hours in the nets will make a difference? In the nets he's not burdened with the game's context; he hasn't just rushed in to change after five hours of concentration-sapping field positioning and bowling changes after the opposition has just added 200 for the last 5. He knew how to bat long and go big, but those days are memories now. He has been given this series to get it right, but with the best will in the world he's being asked to do too much. The captaincy is a long bridge too far for him esp. as he has a side that is as shell-shocked as England currently is. He does not wear the cares of captaincy lightly; they go to the wicket with him - and reduce his effectiveness as opener dramatically. The rest of the world feels for him. And the answer is to stop the pain now, not later. Make Joe Root captain.

  • POSTED BY on | July 25, 2014, 9:29 GMT

    A year ago England was world beaters, had polished us off in the Ashes and all was rosy.....

    One man. (and no offence to some great batting by Smith and Warner and some very good bowling by Harris and others) but one single man has changed that through humiliation of the English team with sheer and frightening pace.

    South Africa was the same....

    We have seen probably the best 12 months of fast bowling and India are about to be demolished over here...... But that is one injury away.

    Australia built a lot around clarke and others. WE took the heavy knocks and the rest. Johnson is only playing because of a rough run of injuries. Amazing isn't it.

    If KP was not the future then that is the coaches call, but my god who did you replace him with? A bloody Aussie!!

    Where are the Englishman?

  • POSTED BY on | July 25, 2014, 8:48 GMT

    No, the only way to practice technique is with a bowling machine. You need flawless repetition to identify and sort out minute technicalities at this (the highest) level. Also the finer detail of muscle memory (at 120km/h+ you cannot "think" your batting into form), instinctive reactions from specific muscle groups, need conditioning, and a bowling machine which delivers flawless repetition is the only way.

  • POSTED BY jackiethepen on | July 25, 2014, 8:45 GMT

    It reminds IndianSRTfan of 2011 does it? Indian's old guard were in their late thirties. Even so Dravid outshone everyone with 3 immaculate centuries in the Series of 4. Bell is in his early thirties and so is Anderson. Broad and Cook aren't even thirty. This is just trite nonsense. The reappointment of Moores was never going to work , the sacking of KP was never going to work. And the man responsible is now in charge of England Lions!! Nothing succeeds like failure it seems.

  • POSTED BY AntonDeck on | July 25, 2014, 8:45 GMT

    "get 8 bowlers from the counties, who arnt playing and who bowl a variety of paces, and swing/seam/spin"

    Can you name 8 county bowlers with variety? England only seem to be able to select right arm fast/mediums.

  • POSTED BY on | July 25, 2014, 8:44 GMT

    Cook need not look too far to think about what mistakes he has been doing and learn from them(I'm referring to his opposite number Dhoni). Not having a replacement is not an answer. I hope Broad takes over for at least the next match and Cook plays as a Batsman alone and scores some runs. He needs a lot of runs first to calm himself down. I think Cook, the batsman, will be back in Southampton though and Eng will take this match. Will make for an interesting series too.

  • POSTED BY Flash_hard27 on | July 25, 2014, 8:35 GMT

    Hmmm, not sure about the last 2 paragraphs. Carberry was never considered a misfit and Asian fans please accept Kevin is never coming back and no longer even plays 4 day cricket for his county. His knee is shot and his form is also poor this season.

    @Asad Khan - Are you for real? Morgan is not in the test side because he averages 30 after nearly 20 games. He is not England's best long form batsman by some margin.

    I feel desperately sad for Cook, England are in a woeful slump and his form illustrates that in neon. Fingers crossed he can pull off a dirty ton over the weekend. and Ian Bell you could do with bucking up your ideas, still smarting from your two dreadful dismissals at Lords.

  • POSTED BY YorkshirePudding on | July 25, 2014, 8:06 GMT

    Simple, get 8 bowlers from the counties, who arnt playing and who bowl a variety of paces, and swing/seam/spin. Get them down to Southhampton, put cook in the nets with a 3 man slip and keeper (bowlers not working) and have them bowl at him for 2 days, with him donating 100 for every time he is bowled, LBW or Caught, and reducing it by £5 for every delivery he successfully leaves, dead bats or 'scores' from.

    he'll either work it out or the will be a very happy charity.

  • POSTED BY on | July 25, 2014, 8:04 GMT

    England are destined to fail again. No one doubts Cook's commitment to the cause, but why is he not trying something different? All the experts, whether armchair or not, think that maybe he just needs to take a break and go fishing or something. Practising throwdowns isn't going to help a man with 25 Test centuries, the problem is his hesitation in coming forward - which is a mental thing. England go through the same motions which have led them to disaster (I read that Flower is coaching the Lions?), and yet expect different results? A better man than I said that that was the definition of insanity!

  • POSTED BY android_user on | July 25, 2014, 6:58 GMT

    Just bring Morgan back into the team to captain and as he is the best batsman England have

  • POSTED BY thedreamer on | July 25, 2014, 6:06 GMT

    People here commenting about how mediocre the Indian bowling line-up is tend to forget that cricket is more a game played in the mind than on the pitch. Right now, the Indian team is buoyed and high on confidence whereas the England team is searching for answers. Not to forget that they were beaten in their own game. If there's anything that would hurt them more, it is the fact that they got the greenest pitch at Lords and they bowled first. What else they could have asked for? And as for people asking for batting friendly pitches to be dished out, remember that England have no spinner of the quality of Swann. Moeen Ali is decent, but can't see him running through the Indian batting. Its advantage India, provided they can keep up the tempo and stay in the right frame of mind. The team which plays positive cricket will take the honors. India did so and reaped rewards. England must stay positive to come back in the series. Good luck to both the teams in the coming matches.

  • POSTED BY xylo on | July 25, 2014, 4:57 GMT

    I don't think Cook's situation is desperate at the moment. I cannot come up with one name from the team that could potentially replace him as captain - Prior was the only name, and his name has been scratched off right now.

  • POSTED BY fairfan70 on | July 25, 2014, 4:53 GMT

    I agree with @ Vicky_Maly's comments (and I am an Indian fan). Indian bowling attack is mediocre. They did well at Lords due to bowling friendly pitch. Any pitch that is even slightly batting friendly will expose the attack badly. You only have to remember what happened at Trent Bridge (last wicket adding 200 runs! and SA recently resurrecting from dead situation to nearly win the match against India; also what happened in NZ). Indian batting seems to be doing okay at the moment with somebody stepping up when others fail. But if on occasions there is a collective failure, India will lose (as the bowling is not strong enough to retrieve the situation in such instances). It will take another year or two for them (Indian team) to become formidable. Certainly a side in rebuilding phase.

  • POSTED BY JAH123 on | July 25, 2014, 4:42 GMT

    Cook is unlikely to regain form while he has the captaincy because he has too much to focus on. Take the Captaincy off him and watch the weight fall from his shoulders. May as well give the captaincy to Broad or Bell - they're both playing rubbish cricket anyway, so it's not like they've got anything to lose.

  • POSTED BY IndianSRTfan on | July 25, 2014, 4:24 GMT

    @SoyQuearns: Yup I think English team could someone who has a bit of flair along with the talent in charge right now. Joe Root has certainly showed some grit and stomach for fight. Other young players, Ali, Ballance, are good too. It's the old guard which is letting them down. As an Indian fan it is all too familiar and reminds me of 2011-12.

    The English management setup seems too keen to mould players into their environment rather than creating an environment where players can retain their individuality. Whereas India were lucky with Fletcher, Dhoni and Sandip Patil combo who ensured new players have that room to express themselves.

    And before the knives come from all the usual suspects here out let me correct myself. When I said "Indian fans as a rule neither care much nor go after a player." I meant "opposition player". We certainly go after our players a little too eagerly.

  • POSTED BY linguboy on | July 25, 2014, 4:07 GMT

    @JustIPL What are you talking?? We Indian fans have only one thing to say, " All the best Cook". He is a fantastic human being and a very fine cricketer. Never indulges in something unnecessary. He scores runs, returns to his farm, again score runs and go on....As a opposition fan I don't want him to score big runs in this series but as a cricket fan I can only wish him best. Maybe he will score runs in the final test after India won the series??? I won't mind that at all. Certainly I never find his batting entertaining but his determination is net to none. He is resolute and he will come back. I like Cook in this England team above others and will continue to do so. Finally, once again, All the Best Alastair.

  • POSTED BY SoyQuearns on | July 25, 2014, 3:56 GMT

    @Vicky_Maly - yes, but that's all conjecture, what-ifs, if-onlys & hypotheticals. Many Aus fans, in our 2.5 year black period, did the same thing on these same type forums (directed unto the Aus team).

    What counts & what matters & what IS noteworthy are the facts to hand:

    1. England won the toss on a goat-mine, bowled first, had India 7/145 & then conceded 300~ 2. England, then having the run of the batting conditions, didn't do enough 3. England, after having India basically 5/40, then ended up being set 319 4. England, after being around 3/150, then lost by almost 100 runs due to a total ineptitude against the short ball

    Anything outside of the facts is either wishful thinking, irrelevant or simply desire. It's fine to be a passionate & supportive fan, but in such matters you must be realistic and focus on what has happened, not what should have happened (in your mind) or what might happen in the future.

    Eng will come good, but it will take time, ask any Aus fan.

  • POSTED BY on | July 25, 2014, 3:54 GMT

    England would do well to look to 1981, when they had Botham as captain and he was useless to the team, including getting a pair at Lord's. They stripped him of the captaincy after the second test and appointed Brearley instead. Botham went on to destroy Australia with bat and ball in the next three tests, and won the series for England. Cook is one of England's best batsmen, but he is not a captain and never will be. Let the man bat and let others worry about the rest.

  • POSTED BY SoyQuearns on | July 25, 2014, 3:50 GMT

    @IndianSRTfan - agreed. Cook is a lovely, decent man, an excellent team man and a very good opener.

    I have no issues with Cook as a man (of which he's great) & as an opening batsman (of which, despite this lengthy run of bad form, he's nearly world-class).

    After all is said & done, despite my pseudo-tongue-in-cheek digs at England, I want them to come out of this fairly short-term rot. They've had many lows in this time, sure, but they are roughly picking the right players, it is all the pomp & circumstance behind the scenes, where individuals or characters are sent to the gallows for having a bit of flair, that ruins them.

    So what if KP has opinions that aren't 'in line' with the typical? Do you think SK Warne was easy? Both were worth it though.

  • POSTED BY IndianSRTfan on | July 25, 2014, 3:18 GMT

    @JustIPL: "India media and fans area after cook......a revenge for indian media" Are you serious? Indian fans as a rule neither care much nor go after a player. We like to see players who are talented, have flair, and are humble. Cook is certainly talented and humble even if lacks that flair. So most Indian fans aren't going to wish him any ill-luck just because he played well against us. In fact we value such players more. Why do you think players like AB, Steyn, Pietersen, Wasim Akram, Gilchrist are popular in India?

    As @SouQuearns very well put it, we don't like those who when in form, are smug and arrogant in their brief seconds of fame but for most of the time are mind numbingly boring and have little talent.

    Cook is a nice bloke and a good batsman. That's why the Indian fan mentioned in the article wished him luck and not sneered and jeered at him.

  • POSTED BY Cpt.Meanster on | July 25, 2014, 2:53 GMT

    @Vicky_Maly: Believe it or not, most Indian fans openly admit India are not a 'formidable' test side and rightly deserve their spot in the middle of the rankings. However, so far India have played the best cricket within their limitations. For any Indian fan, that should be more than enough. You also speak of the 1st session from the third test; did you look into the future ? If you remember correctly, India had the toughest session on day 1 at Lord's on a pitch tailor-made for England. We all know what happened after. India batted superbly to post a competitive 1st innings score and bowled better than England. Surely, if a similar situation presents itself in Southampton, England better be prepared. They have to do all the hard work. India are 1-0 ahead.

  • POSTED BY Sexysteven on | July 25, 2014, 2:21 GMT

    Ok now cooks working to hard a extra net isn't what he needs right now he's just putting more pressure on himself and that's the last thing he needs his brain needs arest between tests so he can refocus when he gets back in the middle with the bat I wanna see Cook stay in the team as a batsman cos his form will come back eventually but somebody needs to say to him there's no shame in giving up being captain and admitting that you weren't up to the job and for the good of the team it's time some one else has ago in fact I would have more respect for him if he did that cos not every one is cut out to be captain it's a difficult job we all know that and I feel his form would come back faster cos a lot of the pressure would go off him if he only bad his batting to focus on

  • POSTED BY android_user on | July 25, 2014, 2:05 GMT

    @Vicky_Maly- It was just one month ago ppl here at cricinfo were going gaga over India's impending series defeat and repeat of 2011 against this very same England side which you have described as "struggling"..Now, India's winning and ppl like you who were critical of Indian team's performance before the series began have found out a new absolutely rudiculous excuse to criticise India bcz you can't say that India lost a match in this series bcz they didn't.. England couldn't beat India at Trent Bridge..Couldn't beat at Lord's.. And now they are not even practicing before the most important match of this series for them(England)..Where as India's practicing very hard even though they are one-up in the series..It shows which team is serious about winning..India was in same position when England toured India in 2012 but we didn't cried so much.. Be sportive.. India's winning this series, DEAL WITH IT!

  • POSTED BY on | July 25, 2014, 0:41 GMT

    Nothing can be done for Cook now. His technical flaw isn't going to magically disappear following an extra net, after he has spent hundreds of hours over the last year trying to iron it out. He will either click in one of the remaining innings in the series or not. In the long run I am not sure whether it is best for England if he does find form, because if that saves him as captain god help us.

  • POSTED BY Vicky_Maly on | July 25, 2014, 0:31 GMT

    Media is overdoing the Indian victory. It is no secret that Indian team has bunch of issues which got hidden only due to inferior English display. A little more initiative from England at key moments would have had a different story. Point is, India isn't a formidable side and can be pushed over with the current home side. I feel that India is going to lose at least 2 of the next 3 tests. Rationale? Ishant fires once in 7 tests. Dhoni, Kohil, Dhawan and Pujara are not in form. India doesn't have a spin attack, Jadeja is a sporadic phenomena and will pat himself over the next 2-3 test without the pressure to perform. That puts India and England on same scale. One loss and Indian team will be like a cat on a hot tin roof. Agree they have teh momentum on their side but it doesn't count for much after the opening session on the 3rd test.

  • POSTED BY Ellis on | July 25, 2014, 0:16 GMT

    Cook is a decent guy and deserves some luck and runs.As has been said before," uneasy lies the head that wears a crown". He is too good a batsman not to come good.Even though I am not a supporter of the England team, I wish him well. Cricket needs men of decency and skill like him.

  • POSTED BY SoyQuearns on | July 25, 2014, 0:07 GMT

    Cook has tried to go even more defensive than he already is, he's tried leaving, he's tried smothering, he's tried to grind for long enough to somehow have something click, with a view to the rust then shedding.

    Even as his sternest critic as a captain, of which he's objectively poor, one-tricked, defensive and reactive (also lacking the punch to make calls on his own) and ALWAYS has been (@FFL), Cook can be a CLOSE TO world-class player.

    Ashwell Prince averaged about 300 for a year once, Samaraweera has a Test average of around 50 - these are not world-class players.

    Bell, too, has shown that, apart from 12-month spikes here and there, he's no world-class player either.

    Cook and Bell can eventually stamp themselves as world-class, but they are not presently and, but for some relatively brief purple patches, have never been.

    But I digress (intentionally, I'll never forgive the smug English fans who bleated in the 10 mins of sunlight they had).

    COOK - PLAY SOME SHOTS!

  • POSTED BY donbanda on | July 24, 2014, 23:41 GMT

    Aus captain Mark Taylor went through a really bad patch but the selectors rightly persisted with him for almost a year. When he got back in the groove there was no stopping him. Cook is a better batsman than Taylor was, so just hope the selectors give him time.

  • POSTED BY Aimwand on | July 24, 2014, 23:28 GMT

    Almost every week of the summer has been branded as one of the most important weeks of Cook's career but clearly not as important as it made out to be. Because he continues to survive. What I find farcical is the idea that Cook's batting form is central to his success as a captain. Clearly he is great batsman and will come into form at some point. But if he's kind of a bloke who relies heavily on his own runs to perform competently as a captain, then it is not the job for him. Captain cannot be that narcissistic and tie the fortune of his team so strongly with his fortunes as a batsman. Dhoni clearly is unfit to be a test batsman at number 6, but his deficiencies as a batsman don't appear to affect his authority as a captain and that is key. Mark Taylor is a better example, his batting form to the large part did not affect his captaincy.

  • POSTED BY JustIPL on | July 24, 2014, 23:13 GMT

    Cook can take a lesson from Mahela who faced rampaging Steyn gun brilliantly and was just coming out from the extended lean patch today. He is retiring but he proved why he is a great player. Cook is very young player with tons of tons and should believe in himself. Moores has to keep confident in him as many players dragged their careers due to management support despite fans wanted to through them out of the ground. India media and fans area after cook as he was instrumental in 4-0 and caned india at home and if cook is dropped then it will be a revenge for indian media.

  • POSTED BY Fifthman on | July 24, 2014, 23:08 GMT

    Cook the batsman will be liberated when Cook the Captain hands over the reins. Cook is too good and important a player to the England cause to be sacrificed on the altar of captaincy. Let somebody else bear that responsibility and free Cook the batsman. While you're at it, put Moores out to pasture as well...

  • POSTED BY on | July 24, 2014, 22:01 GMT

    I feel sorry for him I really do, but this guy is putting himself before the team and his country. His ego is killing him. God what's wrong with taking a break from 5-6 tests to practice with some experts. I really do not understand how anyone can support him. I'm a Pakistani so I really don't want India to win. It's not hate; it's a cricket thing. I just wish for two things: 1) cook scores 2) if not then he leaves or be left out of the next match. The fact that he was trying to support Prior after the last match is utterly ridiculous. If England players trusted their captain then someone like Prior would definitely have mentioned something about the injury. Moreover because of the captain's performance the team's confidence is degrading gradually, but surely. Why must we stick with regular "famous" players for 5-15years? For God's sake give other's a chance even in place of those who are performing, and let them make some money too. The World can be seriously cruel sometimes..

  • POSTED BY Tigg on | July 24, 2014, 21:59 GMT

    I hardly think Moores is 'fighting to save his career'. He's an excellent coach with a great record who sowed the seeds for England's rise to number one. He's been brought back now times are tough and England will stick with him for a while yet.

  • POSTED BY wapuser on | July 24, 2014, 21:41 GMT

    Bring back Kevin Pietersen. He is what England are missing in their batting

  • POSTED BY CricketingStargazer on | July 24, 2014, 21:41 GMT

    Strange to think that we are two months into Peter Moores' second coming and already the axe is being sharpened over his head. However, it is stranger still to think that, only four months ago the pundits were saying that England would see off Sri Lanka and India easily and produce a false sense of "all is well, the winter was just an aberration": it is now looking more likely than not that, rather than winning both series comfortably, both will be lost comfortably.

    For me, the most worrying thing is that Duncan Fletcher and MS Dhoni have completely out-thought and out-fought Peter Moores and Alistair Cook. If India do go on to win, the victory will have been planned by Fletcher and executed by Dhoni.

    Duncan Fletcher was burnt out in 2007, but the ECB was daft to let him go so completely.

  • POSTED BY Rexton87 on | July 24, 2014, 21:38 GMT

    What an article Sidarth, poetry in motion. Two men supposed to have preferred fit in culture to misfit match winners , one of those misfits, a potential match winners, Michael Carberry was here .... brilliant stuff.

  • POSTED BY Patchmaster on | July 24, 2014, 21:33 GMT

    Andrew Gale of Yorkshire should be picked as batsman and captain. Lyth the opener should come with him into the England set up. Bell and Cook need to go back into County cricket, as does Stokes. Broad is injured and bowling like a medium pacer who's lost his mojo. Big shake up required. I'm sure the ECB will oblige..........maybe.

  • POSTED BY Dafffid on | July 24, 2014, 21:12 GMT

    Cook won't go until he gets the tap on the shoulder, but if Cook goes Moores has to go, and if Moores goes Downton should go... so nobody is going to sack him. They're staking everything on him being a 45-50 average player again and keeping that form for the next year at least - none of which will make him any good tactically. I bet on 4-0 Australia for the last Ashes, I think that's a fair bet for the next one.

  • POSTED BY muzika_tchaikovskogo on | July 24, 2014, 20:56 GMT

    The shambles they are in, England will need an extraordinary effort to pull back. I won't put it beyond them- their history is littered with sides that hit back to turn the tables just when there seemed no way back. BUT time is fast running out.

  • POSTED BY slazenger on | July 24, 2014, 20:50 GMT

    Best thing Cook has to do at this point is "Hit out or get out" mentality. Worst thing can happen to him is he will lose the captaincy. Can't help If the seniors are not contributing to the team.

  • POSTED BY esarul on | July 24, 2014, 20:29 GMT

    All I can say is Alastair should not think much about the current situation..More he will think more the pressure will mount on him..So all he needs to do is make some batting practice and relax. that's the way to come out of this web. I know its very hard but thats what it is..I have seen many very successful players in the past in the similar sort of situation..So all the best captain Cook...

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  • POSTED BY esarul on | July 24, 2014, 20:29 GMT

    All I can say is Alastair should not think much about the current situation..More he will think more the pressure will mount on him..So all he needs to do is make some batting practice and relax. that's the way to come out of this web. I know its very hard but thats what it is..I have seen many very successful players in the past in the similar sort of situation..So all the best captain Cook...

  • POSTED BY slazenger on | July 24, 2014, 20:50 GMT

    Best thing Cook has to do at this point is "Hit out or get out" mentality. Worst thing can happen to him is he will lose the captaincy. Can't help If the seniors are not contributing to the team.

  • POSTED BY muzika_tchaikovskogo on | July 24, 2014, 20:56 GMT

    The shambles they are in, England will need an extraordinary effort to pull back. I won't put it beyond them- their history is littered with sides that hit back to turn the tables just when there seemed no way back. BUT time is fast running out.

  • POSTED BY Dafffid on | July 24, 2014, 21:12 GMT

    Cook won't go until he gets the tap on the shoulder, but if Cook goes Moores has to go, and if Moores goes Downton should go... so nobody is going to sack him. They're staking everything on him being a 45-50 average player again and keeping that form for the next year at least - none of which will make him any good tactically. I bet on 4-0 Australia for the last Ashes, I think that's a fair bet for the next one.

  • POSTED BY Patchmaster on | July 24, 2014, 21:33 GMT

    Andrew Gale of Yorkshire should be picked as batsman and captain. Lyth the opener should come with him into the England set up. Bell and Cook need to go back into County cricket, as does Stokes. Broad is injured and bowling like a medium pacer who's lost his mojo. Big shake up required. I'm sure the ECB will oblige..........maybe.

  • POSTED BY Rexton87 on | July 24, 2014, 21:38 GMT

    What an article Sidarth, poetry in motion. Two men supposed to have preferred fit in culture to misfit match winners , one of those misfits, a potential match winners, Michael Carberry was here .... brilliant stuff.

  • POSTED BY CricketingStargazer on | July 24, 2014, 21:41 GMT

    Strange to think that we are two months into Peter Moores' second coming and already the axe is being sharpened over his head. However, it is stranger still to think that, only four months ago the pundits were saying that England would see off Sri Lanka and India easily and produce a false sense of "all is well, the winter was just an aberration": it is now looking more likely than not that, rather than winning both series comfortably, both will be lost comfortably.

    For me, the most worrying thing is that Duncan Fletcher and MS Dhoni have completely out-thought and out-fought Peter Moores and Alistair Cook. If India do go on to win, the victory will have been planned by Fletcher and executed by Dhoni.

    Duncan Fletcher was burnt out in 2007, but the ECB was daft to let him go so completely.

  • POSTED BY wapuser on | July 24, 2014, 21:41 GMT

    Bring back Kevin Pietersen. He is what England are missing in their batting

  • POSTED BY Tigg on | July 24, 2014, 21:59 GMT

    I hardly think Moores is 'fighting to save his career'. He's an excellent coach with a great record who sowed the seeds for England's rise to number one. He's been brought back now times are tough and England will stick with him for a while yet.

  • POSTED BY on | July 24, 2014, 22:01 GMT

    I feel sorry for him I really do, but this guy is putting himself before the team and his country. His ego is killing him. God what's wrong with taking a break from 5-6 tests to practice with some experts. I really do not understand how anyone can support him. I'm a Pakistani so I really don't want India to win. It's not hate; it's a cricket thing. I just wish for two things: 1) cook scores 2) if not then he leaves or be left out of the next match. The fact that he was trying to support Prior after the last match is utterly ridiculous. If England players trusted their captain then someone like Prior would definitely have mentioned something about the injury. Moreover because of the captain's performance the team's confidence is degrading gradually, but surely. Why must we stick with regular "famous" players for 5-15years? For God's sake give other's a chance even in place of those who are performing, and let them make some money too. The World can be seriously cruel sometimes..