Sri Lanka in England 2014

Moores backs Cook's 'steel'

David Hopps

June 25, 2014

Comments: 93 | Text size: A | A
Cook desperately wants to captain England - Moores

Alastair Cook and Peter Moores talk shop, Headingley, June 19, 2014
Peter Moores on Alastair Cook: 'Nobody more than Alastair knows what international cricket is like. He has been in it since he was 19 or whatever so he knows the script' © Getty Images

Does a slump in batting form affect captaincy? "That's the million dollar question," said England's coach Peter Moores as the entrails of England's series defeat against Sri Lanka were examined. Being a million dollar question, it will probably be asked a million times. Alastair Cook's leadership remains the hottest topic in English cricket.

The million dollar question could also be turned around. "Does captaincy cause a slump in batting form?" That seems worth just as much. England, having determinedly invested in Cook as a captain are now investing in hostile questions worth a million dollars. Only success against India will prevent runaway inflation taking hold.

Moores and Cook, assembled in the wake of England's 5-0 Ashes thumping, are still feeling each other out. Moores suggested after defeat at Headingley that he has come to sense a "determined steely bloke" in Cook. His batting feats of old suggest that contrary to appearances this must be so, apart maybe from the bloke bit, because he does not seem immediately blokeish.

Nor, from afar, does he seem to relish captaincy on the field: the best captains are obviously in charge whether because they seem to have been anointed from on high, like Strauss and Brearley, or because they have a bloody-minded individualism like Vaughan, Atherton and Hussain. A first home series defeat against Sri Lanka, even if both Tests did go down to the last over, is not about to alter that perception that Cook, as yet, fits neither category.

Next up: India. "If he gets himself into form someone is going to pay," said Moores. That would be England's No. 1 wish as they seek to put an experimental side onto a firmer footing. If not? Moores' answers were somewhat codified. Supportive to Cook, polite and responsive as he underwent the first real hounding since his return as coach, but honest enough to accept that England are in a state of flux and Cook's position is necessarily compromised because of it.

"Judgment is in the game itself," he said.

That sounded like a welcome, down-to-earth cricketing appraisal, somewhat removed from all the fond talk of Cook being a man to build a team around, a captain who needed every chance to blossom, a person who could now build a young team in his own image. The implication that Cook needed protection has surely been debilitating for him. It has certainly damaged the public perception of him as a captain and as one of England's most prolific Test batsmen of all time, a player who deserves to be accorded colossal respect, that was some misjudgement.

Fletcher gives Cook backing

  • India's coach Duncan Fletcher, who first called up Alastair Cook for his Test debut in Nagpur eight years ago when he was in charge of England, has backed him to answer doubts about his captaincy. "The first thing is that I thought he was a very intelligent cricketer who understood the game," he said. "The second thing is that he was a fey determined individual. For however long he has struggled, give me one player who hasn't been through that period for that length of time. It might take him a little longer. But at some stage you'll be back through it and people will be praising you again."

More fanciful, especially for a coach not given to fancy, was the suggestion that Cook had his best day as captain on the final day at Headingley. That was a day when he sat in the dressing room all day and watched Moeen Ali fashion brilliant resistance. It is tempting to be facetious. But apparently he made an impressive rallying cry. England supporters will rather hope he did.

"He wasn't on the field today but it was one of his best days as England captain," Moores said, "because one of the challenges at this level is that it becomes so easy to go internal when things aren't going well, but he came in this morning with one clear view to make sure that everybody knew we were going to fight and show spirit as a team.

"I've got to take Alastair as I find him and he's a very determined, steely bloke. That to me is what has come across since I've taken the job. He's got a clear picture of what he wants as a team and how that team should operate.

"Because it doesn't always operate like that at the start, the key here is to see it for what it is and we're going to get to where we want to get to, and not to go away from what it is we're trying to get to. We've got to keep driving that home.

"Nobody more than Alastair knows what international cricket is like. He has been in it since he was 19 or whatever so he knows the script. He'll do his work and he'll be ready to go and he'll be ready to play. He knows we are judged by results; that is the name of the game, be it as a captain or as a batter. He will go to what he knows best, work hard and get ready to play against India, and then the judgement is in the game itself. If you get runs, you get runs, if you don't, you don't."

But is Alastair the right man to take England forward long term?

"Of course it's in your mind. Where Alastair is at as a captain - he has had a very tough six or seven months. He knows that and I can only assess where is at at the moment as a person. He is still clear about what he wants, he is still driven to do the job which says something about his determination to get on and do it, so I think he is the right man.

"I think we are starting to get to know each other. I knew him from before but we have to redefine that relationship and how it works best for the team. With new players coming in we have to redefine what we are as a team and how we play our cricket, so that is all going on at the moment. Two Tests in it is early, but that doesn't mean we are not trying to drive it as fast as we can because we are.

"Normally it would be rare to say 'we're going to pick a team and it's going to work brilliantly straight away'. There are areas where we have got to get better. We have seen areas on our catching we need to address. The key is are we prepared to do the work, are we prepared to face up to the areas where we need to get better?

"The time frame of it, you can't put it on, but the expectation isn't going to change because we are an England team, so we have to take that on the chin. We have got to be prepared to work hard every second of every day to work where we want to get to."

Dhammika Prasad removed Alastair Cook in the morning's fourth over, England v Sri Lanka, 2nd Investec Test, Headingley, 2nd day, June 21, 2014
The double whammy: No runs and no wins for Alastair Cook © Getty Images

To the suggestion that England are not as good everybody thought they were, Moores responded that England had made no claims at all. It sounded slightly like he was reducing expectations, which is worrying because the football team tried that and all they ended up with was a goalless draw against Costa Rica and a saving on hotel bills.

England have worries about the perceived weariness of their leading strike bowlers, James Anderson and Stuart Broad, but Moores suggested that "goes with the territory" of back-to-back Tests and was right to question the contention that the lack of a specialist spinner was responsible. England have switched from a regular reliance on four bowlers, Graeme Swann included, to fielding five, with Moeen Ali and Chris Jordan essentially sharing Swann's overs.

Ben Stokes will be the name on everybody's lips; his Durham captain, Paul Collingwood was quick to praise him for his part in their victory against Sussex while England struggled at Headingley.

It was suggested to Moores that it would be a difficult selection for the first Test against India with Stokes hovering, and Moeen's brilliant rearguard action - a maiden Test century to be proud of - unlikely to silence those who are pressing for a "specialist spinner" as if the England selectors are determinedly ignoring an obvious candidate. There isn't one.

"Test match teams have never been picked on the back of one performance by anybody," Moores said enigmatically. Did that apply to Moeen or Stokes?

He added that "Moeen's knock was great to see for English cricket." But it is unfortunate to say the least when the two players who have produced arguably England's two most uplifting Test innings in the past year - allrounders, too - are the ones who can be least certain that they will be in the side for the first Test against India at Trent Bridge.

David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by Oracle_Magus on (June 30, 2014, 5:45 GMT)

However bad and rude Warne's remarks may sound, he is right about one thing. As long as Cook fails as a Batsman, he will always be under stress and this will surely affect his Captaincy. His best option would be to step down, and concentrate on his batting. England has been struggling since the Aussies tour and surely Cook and others must be also feeling some Guilt regarding the axing of Peterson. All these consecutive losses has affected the teams confidence and they need more performance as Moeen's in a winning cause to lift them up. It was Johnson who did it for the Aussies and England desperately needs a hero to step up soon. Considering India's history overseas, this is the right opportunity. But the question is that is the current England team and the Captain up for the task? Both the team have a point to prove and the tougher team will make this opportunity count. May the best team win. Cheers!!!

Posted by James5 on (June 28, 2014, 14:34 GMT)

Statisticsrocks that's where we differ my original point was that the great captains do it well in form or out of form. Cook isn't able to do it. He simply isnt able to separate his individual performance from his job as leader. Its as simple as that. England need a captain who can focus on captaining the team even when they're having a poor run.

Posted by Greatest_Game on (June 28, 2014, 11:07 GMT)

@ Ananda Herath. I apologize. The exaggeration was intentional, and I thought that obvious! It was meant to highlight the gulf in resources between the English & Sri Lankan teams, not denigrate the team that I stated, at the beginning of the series, that even as a "neutral," I supported.

I've followed Sri Lanka's illustrious cricketing history - cricket's best & most persecuted bowler ever is a Lankan, right? I celebrated the WC win in 96 & was disappointed by the last 2 & the 2 WT20's preceding the 2014 win! I admire SL's universal healthcare, & free primary to tertiary education with primary literacy & schooling at almost 100%! And, as a Theravada, I know where the Pali canon was 1st scripted.

I watched KS & MJ murder our bowling & built the highest partnership ever, & still wanted MJ to pass Lara. But don't think that will happen again in this series - we have real spin now. This will not be like the last away series we lost. Unlike the Poms, you have a real fight on your hands.

Posted by Lion83 on (June 28, 2014, 5:34 GMT)

This loss is purely due to defensive thinking and captaincy from Moores & Cook. They should have played a Frontline spinner rather than playing 4 quicks. You need a quality spinner in the second innings of a test match or should have give more overs to Mooen ali. His refusal to declare early on the first test at Lords cost the game for England.

Posted by Greatest_Game on (June 27, 2014, 16:38 GMT)

@ Ananda Herath. I apologize. The exaggeration was intentional, and I thought that obvious! It was meant to highlight the gulf in resources between the English & Sri Lankan teams, not denigrate the team that I stated, at the beginning of the series, that even as a "neutral," I supported.

I've followed Sri Lanka's illustrious cricketing history - cricket's best & most persecuted bowler ever is a Lankan, right? I celebrated the WC win in 96 & was disappointed by the last 2 & the 2 WT20's preceding the 2014 win! I admire SL's universal healthcare, & free primary to tertiary education with primary literacy & schooling at almost 100%! And, as a Theravada, I know where the Pali canon was 1st scripted.

I watched KS & MJ murder our bowling & built the highest partnership ever, & still wanted MJ to pass Lara. But don't think that will happen again in this series - we have real spin now. This will not be like the last away series we lost. Unlike the Poms, you have a real fight on your hands.

Posted by   on (June 27, 2014, 10:31 GMT)

@Greatest_Game, while your criticism of Moores is justified, you are quite mistaken when you say, "Eng were just beaten in a T20, an ODI series & a Test series by a bankrupt, often unpaid, team of reality TV competition winners & bank clerks from a small, impoverished Indian Ocean island". You have obviously picked it up from the highly exaggerated story here titled "The pearl and the Bank clerk". The Sri Lankan team consists of greats like Sanga and Mahela and Herath is no mean spinner. They recently won the Asia Cup as well the WorlT20 and are currently the no. 6 ranked test team. They won the cricket world cup in 1996 and have a long cricket history. Rangana Herath is a brand ambassador for Sampath Bank and symbolically holds a managerial position there. There are two bowlers who have been unearthed at fast bowling competitions but since then they've undergone formal coaching - a credit to Sri Lanka for recognizing talent found unexpectedly - and have been playing serious cricket.

Posted by   on (June 27, 2014, 10:16 GMT)

Oh what a lot of empty. meaningless words by Moores. How could one associate steel with Cook. The fifth day of the second test with SL being one of Cook's best as captain is understandable as he was confined to the pavilion. The best he could do in his current form both as a batter and captain was to stay away ! Saying, "go man go !", "Don't give up mate" sitting in the pavilion is not captaincy. To say ""Nobody more than Alastair knows what international cricket is like. He has been in it since he was 19 or whatever so he knows the script" is just an example of meaningless things said by Moores. Does he really mean to say Cook in the one who knows best what international cricket is ? Tee captain of England is Cook while his coach is nuts. I couldn't find a single point of value in what Moores has said according to this report. To face India, England will need appoint someone more suited and with more "steel" as captain. "Ian Bell" rings a bell.

Posted by DJardine on (June 27, 2014, 8:43 GMT)

England needs a calmer yet engaging captain. Cook is so distant from his players it hurts. There is no one in current English team of captain material, closest would be Bell. But not good enough still. It would be so hard to find someone good as Strauss.

Posted by bjcm12 on (June 27, 2014, 1:40 GMT)

Early days Cook was running on the steam generated by Strauss.Now the steam is over. Cook is not a captain material. He will succumb even against India - it is a matter of time.

Posted by Jimmyvida on (June 26, 2014, 22:04 GMT)

India and 'fielding' in test cricket do not go together. The very same players in IPL are astonishingly good fieldsmen. Conclusion: Players are not allowed to get their clothes dirty and they certainly do not want to sweat. This was brought to my attention some years ago when India toured Australia. India toiled in the field all day and my friend pointed out to me how clean the men's trousers were. Cook wants to be the captain of England even if it destroys his batting. Note: batting and making runs against India is not an indication that Cook is now ready for Captaincy. He may never make runs again, that is, until he plays India again.

Posted by Puffin on (June 26, 2014, 21:18 GMT)

Steel? I'd call it cardboard, that folds easily once put under pressure.

Posted by StatisticsRocks on (June 26, 2014, 20:26 GMT)

James5: Once Cook is among some runs, everything will improve. I feel he is short on confidence. He has always been a suspect outside the off stump and is now thinking too much about scoring runs. Every captain tends to seem negative when things don't go their way. The series against India is the one he should perform better, both as a captain and also as a batsmen.

Posted by Greatest_Game on (June 26, 2014, 19:03 GMT)

If Moores thinks that one of Cook's best days of captaincy was watching the tail put up the battle that he could not, does anyone find it unsurprising that KP thought that Moores was not up to the job? Moores current run has made clear that KP's instincts were right: Moores has evidenced nothing that makes him fit for the job. That Cook can't see that brings up further questions about his capabilities as skipper.

Eng were just beaten in a T20, an ODI series & a Test series by a bankrupt, often unpaid, team of reality TV competition winners & bank clerks from a small, impoverished Indian Ocean island, and Eng's coach thinks that one of Eng's skipper's finest leadership performances was sitting watching Eng's tail ALMOST save the game the top & middle order lost them. Does Moores even realize how that comes across to the world?

Posted by liz1558 on (June 26, 2014, 15:08 GMT)

Need for a spinner...Swann got spanked last time India came to England. Only in the final Test was he needed. England's seamers won that series - Broad 25 at 13, Anderson 20 at 25 and Bresnan with some very cheap scalps. Mooen will do just as well. What's all this 'steely' talk about? Rigid inflexibility is certainly an a attribute of steel. It's a very painful and slow car crash. Really poor from England's managers. Should sack him. Cook describing himself as the best man for the job is similar to Harmison's protestations, when he was past it, claiming to be the best 90mph bowler in the country.

Posted by James5 on (June 26, 2014, 14:20 GMT)

Statisticsrocks It's not that I and others are saying he's not a good cricketer, India and 2011 ashes attest to his intrinsic ability to bat. However that's irrelevant to whether he is a good captain and sadly he isn't. He knows all the words at press conferences but is frequently beaten tactically and is totally bereft of ideas when England fall behind in games. No matter how much people defend his batting he has not and will never be a great captain.

Posted by r1m2 on (June 26, 2014, 14:15 GMT)

Moores and Cook are going to take the English cricket team back to the dark ages of pre-Nasser Hussain era. 5 years later the Moores and the Cooks of ECB are going to say something like "on hindsight dropping Kevin Pietersen was probably a mistake".

Posted by StatisticsRocks on (June 26, 2014, 13:59 GMT)

Give this guy a break. yes, he has lost his form, but he is a fine cricketer and will be back scoring centuries against (as much as I hope, he doesn't) us Indians. ENG will be back to their winning ways by defeating an inexperienced IND in a 5 test match series. As an Indian, I am a gr8 fan of Cook, but the only thing about Cook that disappointed me is the way he is reacting to his critics. Don;t say anything just go out there and let your bat do the talking. Good Luck and cannot wait to watch IND vs ENG.

Posted by James5 on (June 26, 2014, 13:40 GMT)

I keep reading articles which defend cooks captaincy and point to India as an example of how he led from the front to say he's not a poor captain. Firstly that was 2 years ago what's he done since. Secondly all the great captains were able to inspire their teams and drive them to win even when their own for was poor et Waugh, Smith, border etc. Cook is an idea less and relentlessly negative captain who relies on boring teams into mistakes rather than trying to drive each the game forward. Cook has always been a poor captain but for the first little bit the performances in spite of his captaincy and his own form hid his shortcomings. England won the home ashes in spite of cook's captaincy not because of it. Not sure who else is an option but a captain must be positive seeking an advantage to drive the game forward not sitting back and hoping for the opposition to hand the game to you. English cricket will not return to the top with cook at the top. Same goes for Moore KP was right.

Posted by Yorks1 on (June 26, 2014, 13:23 GMT)

"IF" Cook gets back into form someone is going to pay. That's a great encouragement from Moores! Perhaps chosing the word "WHEN" etc would have been better. Let's hope that if England continue their woeful plight that Moores will accompany Cook out of the dressing room.

Posted by espncricinfomobile on (June 26, 2014, 12:48 GMT)

I don't really agree with Stokes as if you look at his stats from Australian tour he might of taken some wickets and made a 100 , but if you look closer most of his wickets were during Australia's second innings when they were attacking and throwing the bat in order to get a unassailable lead and he was always leaking runs to at about 5-6 a over. And his 100 was in a lost cause with nothing to lose as England were already out of the game. Point being he hasn't been under much pressure and when he has he has failed.

Posted by Mervo on (June 26, 2014, 12:34 GMT)

This has little to do with Cooks form in batting, but is about his inherent capacity and judgement as a captain. The skill sets are different.

Posted by SirViv1973 on (June 26, 2014, 12:28 GMT)

@James C Birbeck, IMO it's far too risky to use Kerrigan & Stokes in a 4 man attack. As well as Stokes did in Aus & the fact he took career best bowling figs this week, I don't yet think his bowling is strong enough to be a 3rd seamer in a 3 man seam unit. If Kerrigan is brought back then he will also need the security of a 5th bowler given what happened at the Oval last year. The situation probably would have been straightforward before Tue, Moen would have stepped aside for Stokes & Kerrigan would have come in for 1 of Plunkett, Jordan or Broad. Now Moen is undroppable & the selectors will have a real headache as to the make up of the bowling attack for the first test. I won't be surprised if they end up playing the same XI.

Posted by SirViv1973 on (June 26, 2014, 11:52 GMT)

@jb633, You raise a very good point. I have been banging on for weeks about the slow bowler issue. Although Monty's form for Eng hasn't been very good since the series in Ind in 2012 sadly he is the only spinner we have with any test pedigree. However when asked about him last wk Moores seemed to suggest that he wouldn't be considered for the forseable future due to his 'offield issues. We have a few young decent spinners starting to emerge on the domestic scene notably Riley & Patel & I still think Briggs maybe a test bowler at some point in the furture, but all all 3 are some way off being ready for test cricket. Treadwell should have been a viable stop gap for a year or 2 but his red ball form has been terrible for the last couple of years. That only really leaves Borthwick who isn't playing as a frontline bowler for Durham & Kerrigan who had the mother of all nightmares less than a yr ago when he was pitched in too soon against the aussies.

Posted by   on (June 26, 2014, 11:41 GMT)

Pulling Farbace out of Lankan hands at the 11th hour may have been a ploy by England to upset Sri Lanka. If that was so then the whole thing backfired on England. Indeed Marvan showed that he is a better coach than Moores or Farbace by winning in all three formats. My prediction but for England against Indian is that they will beat India because now they know where there faults are. It will be a 3-1 series win for England against India.

Posted by CricketMaan on (June 26, 2014, 11:37 GMT)

What a timing for Cook! He could not have asked for a better opponent to get back to form. India with thier weak bowling attack is what doctor ordered for Cook. India usually let southpaw openers run amock so i expect no less. Even the out of form Struass hit a 100 against Indians last time, so this is all he wants. His only nemisis will be Bhuvi but then he ain't fast.

Posted by espncricinfomobile on (June 26, 2014, 10:59 GMT)

Cook's defining moment as a captain is not declaring on day 4 of the first test in an effort to put Sri Lanka under pressure and give England a winning chance. Those defensive tactics are what's killing test cricket. I think Broad looks more of a captain than Cook.

Posted by Clavers on (June 26, 2014, 10:31 GMT)

Cook is the best captain England has.

And that is a massive insult to their whole squad.

Posted by Clyde on (June 26, 2014, 10:03 GMT)

I think ECB will have learnt its lesson about dropping players (Pietersen) on any other basis than form. I believe Cook may be dropped on this basis and, with any hope, sooner rather than later, if, as I suspect he will, he remains captain. I doubt if any player, and especially not a Cook or Broad, for example, would find it easy to play under a captain who will not let them attack, as Cook would not on the fourth day of the second Test against Sri Lanka, as he tried to keep the star batsman off strike. It is really the dead and distant hand of the ECB that is translated through Cook. The players are caught between the keeping of their jobs and exhibiting their natural competitiveness, including via talking to the captain. Bell has said as much as he can with safety. The ECB is a fearsome organisation, part of the triumvirate. Talk about poor atmosphere! It is far worse than during the tour to Australia, as the syndrome is further developed.

Posted by THEBEAST7 on (June 26, 2014, 9:36 GMT)

Cook is one guy who can challenge Sachins 100 centuries. But he needs to let go of his captaincy like sachin did.

Posted by   on (June 26, 2014, 9:35 GMT)

Some time ago , there was a comment that Cook will be the most probable player to overhaul Tendulkar's Runs and Centuries in Tests. It will never happen for the simple reason that age and form will catch up with even the greatest of players . When Tendulkar was no exception to this rule, I do not know why Cook will be. First and foremost, humility is needed for most players and Cook does not have this quality . I do not foresee Cook doing any wonders in the near future to confirm the belief of his coach.

Posted by Tanweer_Tannu_Nawada_Malaysia on (June 26, 2014, 9:31 GMT)

surely cook will definitely find his form vs Indian series. Indian doesn't have quality bowlers and they have a habit of letting out of form batters to easily get back to form in the past. So cook needs to be patients before India team starts the series.

Posted by jb633 on (June 26, 2014, 9:21 GMT)

IMO all this media hype about how bad Cook is still masks over the biggest issue in English cricket. The fact we have no spinners is of huge concern to me and surely it should be at the top of the ECB's agenda. Cook is surely the worst captain in world cricket right now and it has ruined his batting (as it seems to do for every single one of our captains). On a batting front I would honestly think he is 2 bad tests away from being dropped. The form he is in and the technical deficincies he shows again and again mean we must consider it at some point. As it stands he is pretty much a walking wicket. With India coming over (who are far stronger than a very average Sri Lanka) we will get hammered if something doesn't change. I can't see anything other than an Indian win especially as we seem to have lost the ability to produce wickets that might favour our bowlers. It will be good for our game in the long run though as we need to revolutionise our thinking from grass roots level upwards.

Posted by KK47 on (June 26, 2014, 9:12 GMT)

However his captaincy might be, he is undeniably an excellent batsman. To all of us Indian fans, his performance in the sub-continent has proved beyond doubt on his quality and determination. I clearly remember his anguish after getting out at 1st test in India tour ( he was out at 50 i think) which England lost but his determination to occupy the crease and fight it out against quality spin when others were struggling around him was there for all to see. I just pray that his temporary loss of form continues for next 5 tests!

Posted by Chris1881 on (June 26, 2014, 9:09 GMT)

'Because it doesn't always operate like that at the start, the key here is to see it for what it is and we're going to get to where we want to get to, and not to go away from what it is we're trying to get to. We've got to keep driving that home.'

Does anyone understand what Peter Moores is talking about?

In interview yesterday he reminded me strongly of Peter Cook's Football Manager character.

Moores didn't actually mention 'the three Ms: motivation, motivation, motivation' but he surely will at some point.

Does anyone else see our captain as Pete & our coach as Dud?

Posted by   on (June 26, 2014, 8:46 GMT)

I don't doubt anything Moores has said: "IF [my emphasis] he gets his form back, someone will pay". Yes, but who's paying at present? England. I'm sure there's a "steely determination", but I'd prefer at least a rudimentary grasp of test match tactics (and less whining about the likes of Shane Warne).

On selection, I see no real reason why you can't play both Moeen and Stokes (Stokes, imo is more naturally a no 7 anyway), then look for a proper keeper (Prior has been very poor recently), and a spinner (perhaps another look at Kerrigan) to complement two quicks.

Posted by JAHID_OMAR on (June 26, 2014, 8:35 GMT)

I think cook will definitely find his form in the Indian series. Given that INDIA doesn't have quality bowlers and they have a habit of letting out of form batters to easily get back to form in the past. So cook needs to be patients until INDIAN tour begins. Cricinfo please publish

Posted by geoffboyc on (June 26, 2014, 8:31 GMT)

I now see that the Essex coach has come out in Cook's defence claiming that there is a "witch hunt" against the England captain because the English have it in for "the nice guy". People who want England to do well are far more concerned about Cook's repeated failures with the bat and his apparent failure to respond to being worked out by NZ and Aussie bowlers and coaches. Add to that the inept tactics displayed on the fourth day at Headingley and you don't have to be a "nice guy" hater to ask some searching questions.

Posted by EdGreen on (June 26, 2014, 7:42 GMT)

Whether Cook is a potential run machine (if he finds his off stump again - clue this is often lying on the ground (and if he re-learns not the swish at wide ones) is not the issue.

Whether he can ever learn to captain a side beyond the measure of passing on the coaches (often poor) instructions at the start of a session is.

Coaches such as Moores and Flower may regard this as the role of a captain, players and supporters in general do not. England require captaincy to add to the team and Cook, like Strauss and Hussein before him may be 'the right sort' for the ECB but they do not actually do the job of captaining.

Posted by Gdesai on (June 26, 2014, 7:20 GMT)

India and England currently are teams with some exciting talent but inexperienced. I strongly believe Indian batting can stand up to the challenge with the likes of Pujara, Kohli, Gambhir and Rahane as the series moves along. Indian medium pacers are traditionally swing bowlers and have done well in England historically. This time there is no exception with Bhuvi and Shami. I would like to see Ishwar Pandey play ahead of Ishant as the third seamer who has the ability to move the ball at decent pace with good accuracy. Its the right thing to do especially when you don't have a bowler who can run through the side with brutal pace like Johnson. However, India definitely has a concern on its spin options in Foreign soil. Jadeja and Ashwin might just do a good holding job at their best but may not be sufficient as proved in SA and NZ. On the other side, England's batting is full of new faces but seems mighty potent and seam bowling is always good. Fingers crossed for a good series!

Posted by wapuser on (June 26, 2014, 7:08 GMT)

Moores backs Cooks steel. I like Shane Warne don't back his captaincy. Its an area of the test game where he is a long way off the necessary tactical thrust and awareness. Pity for world cricket thst he's a sook about playng with Pietersen too..

Posted by wapuser on (June 26, 2014, 6:48 GMT)

It will be counter productive if england change the captancy. Cook must have learned a lot from ashes and sri lankan tour. It will be a waste if you change the captancy now. England batting has been fine during the sri lankan tour but the balling. So, cook's out of form of batting should not be a big worry. Indian tour is an oppotunity for them.

Posted by sabihoff12 on (June 26, 2014, 6:18 GMT)

I think it's bad. Nothing to see here, move along.

Posted by android_user on (June 26, 2014, 6:15 GMT)

cook will get his form's better to play against india which has a poor form at outside of SC.

Posted by   on (June 26, 2014, 5:58 GMT)

I dont know why some Indian fans are so pessimistic about India's chances. Cook and Bell will score 100s, Indian batting will fail blah blah. At least let the series begin. Such negative and pessimistic fans are never true fans of any country or any team. If you are thinking of defeat even before a ball is being bowled then no point of playing. Similarly such fans like VipinGangwar, ThatsJustCricket, Udendra, Aman Randhawa should not waste their time watching any part of series bacause as per them series is already lost 0-5. Then why waste electricity and time? Come on guys, if you are true supporters or fans, support your team. There are always surprises in life. If England can beat India in India after 28 years why India can't do the same?

Posted by android_user on (June 26, 2014, 5:50 GMT)

@Internationalcricketfollower - you missed Hales mate. He should be a a definite inclusion for England

Posted by 123456789CRICKET on (June 26, 2014, 5:47 GMT)

Completely drop Cook. He is the worst batsman in the English side.

Posted by   on (June 26, 2014, 5:30 GMT)

Head to head England does not have a captain to match Dhoni or batsmen to meet Dhoni Kholi Raina Yuaraj Pujara Etc. Equal on bowling the scales are heavily loaded on the Indian side. Dhonis blade is strong enough to cut Cooks Steel. Will the selectors have the courage throw Cook the Wolves.

Posted by   on (June 26, 2014, 5:28 GMT)

England has a tradition of experiencing a dip in the form of person they have appointed as skipper in recent past. Vaughan and Strauss average failed after they took over the captaincy and the same thing has happened to Cook. But England is in transition phase now with KP and Trott out of the equation. They will need Cook to return to his good days and Cooks good days makes others run scoring stats look ordinary. If one takes a look at recent series it is the new guys like Ballance, Robson, Ali and Root who scored centuries while Prior, Cook and Bell has an ordinary series. Moores and ECB needs to bite the bullet and be imaginative and appoint a young and fearless leader. Someone like Morgan or even Root can be looked at. While the best way for Cook is to get reed of the poisoned chalice and concentrate on his batting. He himself is very young and by getting to his prolific form with the bat back he will win matches for England.

Posted by InternationalCricketFollower on (June 26, 2014, 5:21 GMT)

Think I worked out the line up England should work on for the ODIs for the next WC: 1. Cook 2. Buttler 3. Ballance 4. Bell 5. Morgan 6. Compton 7. Bopara 8. Jordan 9. Broad 10. Tredwell 11. Anderson. This mixes up the slow starters and the guys who can hit from ball one.

Posted by Sexysteven on (June 26, 2014, 4:55 GMT)

England are doomed looks liked cook is staying as captain he will find his form with the bat again but his captaincy will only get worst but having said that ms dhoni isn't much better to negative captains could be five boring draws coming up if they use negative tactics as they both like to do nah but seriously if England produce green tops England should win Kholi is the only one who is capable of playing on green tops I would water the pitches if I was England why not India produce dustbowls when u go to India so u might as well make as hard for them as possible when they go to England and say what comes around goes around try playing on these wickets

Posted by fkhawaja on (June 26, 2014, 4:50 GMT)

I think it is the best chance for cook to get back into form. if he does not click even against India , he will be surely in a very difficult position to continue as captain. To drop moeen after this performance would be absurd . He deserves to be in the team even as a middle order batsman and his bowling is extra.

Posted by   on (June 26, 2014, 4:45 GMT)

it's ridiculous that cook should be given a couple of weeks off before the india series starts. anyone batting that badly should be obliged - and keen - to play as much as possible. instead, his failure as a batsman and a captain is being rewarded with a bit of r&r. his willingness to continue in the job is not admirable; it's petulant, and self-serving. and moores is colluding in this. i cook him two more tests before he falls on his sword, and deservedly so. moores should follow him. but let's concentrate on the positives of the sri lanka series - robson, ballance and the excellent moeen ali all gave hope for the future, as did jordan. bring back stokes and england should havethe makings of a decent side. presumably that is what cook, moores, downton and giles clarke are hoping for.

Posted by DaisonGarvasis on (June 26, 2014, 4:39 GMT)

Yeah, so thats a "threat" directed towards India - "somebody is going to pay". Cook better make India pay because if India are not paying then somebody else have to pay. Since there are only two sides involved that will mean England and Cook will pay. With Indian bowling attack Cook should feel runs are on 70% sale. And if he still doesnt measure up then he will pay the full 100%.

Posted by Die_Hard_Indian_Cricket_Lover on (June 26, 2014, 4:23 GMT)

India got the worst bowling attack in the test playing nations. I am pretty sure Cook will get his form back from Indian bowlers.

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge-Needs-A-Hug on (June 26, 2014, 4:01 GMT)

Moores appointment was kind of forced upon the ECB and you'd have to say Cook is captain by default. It doesn't matter if he is steely or determined, he isn't making runs and his deficiencies as captain are obvious. If they continue to select players out of form they will lose, it's not rocket science.

Posted by Udendra on (June 26, 2014, 3:33 GMT)

Yes, India will surely pay.

Posted by THEBEAST7 on (June 26, 2014, 3:21 GMT)

Cook should be dropped from the captaincy but he must remain as the opener. He will go on to score century after century if he only has to concentrate on his batting. He is a better batsman than anybody else in the england line up. Sadly he is not the captain material. England needs an aggressive captain who would think out of the box. Broad will fit the bill..

Posted by getsetgopk on (June 26, 2014, 2:52 GMT)

Well I now get a good idea how Trott broken down and Swann left and a few more before them. Sometimes the Englih are just too getting in the heads of their players, looking at the media coverage they get, its just crazy. And crazier even more to think if this is a healthy environment for players and captains to flourish under. Some captains are quick witted, some have strong individualism about them, some captains can't hadle pressure of captaincy and the argument here seems to be Cook can't deal with it but in his early days as captain he was batting better than ever. All I can say leave the man be. Seeing Anderson breaking down, I had the idea how it's like and it should not be that way. Simple as that.

Posted by Jeewaka9999 on (June 26, 2014, 2:07 GMT)

I believe selection of Jordan over Finn was not a good decision. Bcoz Jordan is not a wicket taking bowler like our Kulasekara. Both of them are too easy to play Bcoz they don't have a pace. So it is a waste of place. So please replace him with a real quick bowler . Bcoz one reason, we won the 2nd match due to replacement of Kule with Prasad.

Posted by   on (June 26, 2014, 2:04 GMT)

Well, Indian bowlers are always there to help anybody who is in need of runs. That is just our way of showing support for needy. And at present Cook is needy. Let the 5 tests finish - suddenly Cook has series and couple of hundreds in his bag( may be 4-5 100's , just depend on how generous we are on the day) From an excited Indian fan

Posted by espncricinfomobile on (June 26, 2014, 2:02 GMT)

Why england went with four pacer against Srilanka? England should go with Morgan or pieterson against Jordan, he has no success against Srilanka. India definitely has very bad record at overseas so Cook has h best chance to prove his capabilites otherwise he will face much difficulty

Posted by disco_bob on (June 26, 2014, 1:50 GMT)

"[Cook is]...a person who could now build a young team in his own image." I'm not convinced that is a particularly worthwhile goal. Cook does not seem to respond well to pressure and it's all around. The ghost of KP lingers everywhere; victory in india? would it have been possible without KP. Losing to SL, first Test without KP. His batting and 100's record? No more competition from you know who. His ability to mentor younger batters? KP seemed more a man of the people with regard to that particular talent. Even KP's overt undermining of authority contrasts with Cook

Posted by ThatsJustCricket on (June 26, 2014, 1:41 GMT)

Feels bad to say this as an Indian supporter, but our bowlers have a reputation of getting out of batters back into form. I daresay, Cook will be back in form when India shows up.

Posted by VipinGangwar on (June 26, 2014, 1:08 GMT)

After the India-England series gets over, Cook would have smashed atleast 2 double tons, with Bell, Prior returning into form. Atleast 2 new comers(one batsman and one bolwer) or one player making comeback to England team will be stars. One new comer will be drowned and his career will be on the line. Anderson and Broad(may become 1st bowler to get 3 hattricks) will look like as they are unplayable.

Ishant Sharma, Ashwin will have another forgettable series, but they will still get a ticket to OZ and MSD will still be the test captain for oz tour.

Though, I dont want this to happen but it will. I wish I could be proved wrong. I do have a lot of trust in Pujara, Kohli, and Rahane but not in MSD as a overseas test captain and Ishant the bolwer, who will lead the team into another humiliation.

Posted by   on (June 26, 2014, 0:20 GMT)

Ok Alister will stay as an opening batsman despite his run of poor scores. Is Moores still backing him as captain? Are England selectors convinced the Cook has a tactical cricket mind to lead England? My answer is no. Hi bowling changes and poor choice of fielding positions certainly demostrstes that Cook is a very poor tactician as a captain. His delayed declaration in the second innings of the Lords test robbed England of a certain victory and the opportunity to have squared the series. Alister is far too defensive for a captain. Either he underestimates his bowlers capabilities or over emphasises his batsmans needs to score high. He cannot lead tight games. If Moores is still going to back him as captain, it is not good for England for England's future. Let Alister stay on as a batsman he will fight his way to form but a captain you are good as one or just not there in terms of skills. You cannot run into form as a captain Moores. You should know that

Posted by iceaxe on (June 26, 2014, 0:17 GMT)

disagree. Cook needs the boot. He would play a lot better if he relinquishes the captaincy, and time for some fresh tactics.

Posted by Westmorlandia on (June 26, 2014, 0:00 GMT)

I'm not sure why people are mentioning Bresnan - he's been great in the past, but it was clear in Australia that he's down on pace a bit and doesn't have the threat since his injury. Which is gutting for him, but there you are.

Finn is, apparently, doing well but not quite ready to reappear as he's still sorting his game out. He hasn't been forgotten.

Leaving aside the Pietersen question - and I think that decision was taken in far too much of a hurry, even if it was right - I think the side is about right.

It's the same old thing - when a team is doing badly, everyone who is absent suddenly seems much better than they actually were. I don't think any of those players would have made a difference against Sri Lanka. The problem wasn't individual quality, as there was quite a lot of it, but a general tendency not to grab opportunities and to lose concentration.

Posted by ThePacifist10 on (June 25, 2014, 23:52 GMT)

Look I'm not going to argue against Cook's quality. He's the guy who thumped Ashwin in India, after all. However I think it's somewhat unreasonable to question our bowling attack's ability. After all, we did dismiss New Zealand for sub-standard scores in their own backyard, TWICE. Why did McCullum get a triple ton? Because of our FIELDING. We dropped crucial catches. Fix that and we'll be fine. Our batting has proved to be more than formidable. England's bowlers are not going to have a nice time.

Let's look at the differences: previously, England faced an aging team with Bhajji, Zaheer, Ojha, Tendulkar and Yuvraj. Now they'll have to go up against Dhawan, Pujara, Kohli, Rahane, Shami, Jadeja, Bhuvi, Pankaj and Aaron. It won't be easy. Oh, and we won the Champions Trophy in ENGLAND last year. This team can fight to the death, as seen in SA and NZ. Good luck to both teams but my bets are on India, merely because of the sheer grit of this YOUNG team.

Posted by landl47 on (June 25, 2014, 22:27 GMT)

With regard to Cook's captaincy, I don't see any of the steel Moores talks about. Cook should have been giving his bowlers a hard time if, as he says, they knew what they should be doing but weren't doing it. Was he? Not that I saw and he kept them on for long spells instead of yanking them if they weren't carrying out the plan.

He knew from last year that bowling Anderson into the ground was a bad idea, but he started this test by giving him a ten-over spell, during which he got one wicket. When the game got away from England on the 4th day, Anderson was exhausted and couldn't give his best. Cook hadn't learned from experience, which is a vital part of good captaincy.

How do you know when a captain is losing it? When he starts complaining about the media, an argument he can't win because they're not worried about right or wrong as long as it sells advertising. When Cook was moaning about Warne BEFORE the start of the test, I knew he was in trouble.

Posted by cricketfanwrites on (June 25, 2014, 22:18 GMT)

Getting rid of KP is making England look very bad. What about all the other 'bad apples' that is still in the current English side? Who does Cook turn to now for some strategic advice? Bell, Prior, Anderson, Broad... Don't think any of them are proven leaders.

Posted by anuradea on (June 25, 2014, 21:32 GMT)

This takes me back to 1981,when Sir IT Botham resigned (minute before being sacked) and Mike Brealey was appointed captain. Technically Cook should have been sacked after the winter debacle, but somehow he had survived to get more humiliated and if he had not realized by now that he is NOT captaincy material and got the job only because all the issues that was on with KP/Moores issue at that time and he seemed to be the best choice to reduce further mutiny by the seniors.Any captain who HAS to ask 5 different people before making any decision is bound to fail.England team is like the English parliament where the PM gets pummeled every time he is trying to take any decision.Most of the other teams value the input by the seniors but the captain makes the final call and the seniors are tag along.But in Englands case seniors pout and start to clan if their inputs are not adhered to and that is SAD.With 18 county captains available why can't England find 1 who is strong enough like Brealey.

Posted by espncricinfomobile on (June 25, 2014, 21:29 GMT)

No place for Stokes and KP the two best performers in the Ashes.

Posted by whoster on (June 25, 2014, 20:43 GMT)

If the captain isn't making runs, and the team is losing, he'll be under intense scrutiny. The most worrying thing about Cook's form is that he's getting starts in innings, whereas during his previous slump (prior to 10/11 Ashes) he was getting out cheaply to the new ball.

It's pretty clear that if Cook continues to struggle against India, he'll be relieved of the job. Hopefully he'll come good soon, and that in itself would make his captaincy more positive, and his team better.

The future does look encouraging with how well the new players have performed and adapted. I'd like to see Moeen given the opportunity to develop as a spinner. He's obviously not going to be another Swann, but if he can become a bowler who can keep it tight and bowl a lot of overs, that'd be a huge plus for England.

Ben Stokes has shown he's ready to return, and frankly, Anderson or Broad should make way (to be rested as much as dropped).

Posted by Jimmyvida on (June 25, 2014, 20:39 GMT)

Did Captain Cook have 5 or 6 fieldsmen on the boundary? I love Cook as a batsman, as a skipper, nah! But those of us who follow the politics of cricket....

Posted by bemUSed2 on (June 25, 2014, 20:20 GMT)

I think the big problem for Cook and England is that the players are not buying into his view of how to win. When he won in India he was able to bore them into submission with defensive batting and bowling. Against NZ and Australia (in England) these tactics only just worked with Ian Bell's brilliance winning the Ashes. As things unravelled in Australia you could see the players (led by KP) wanted to fight fire with fire but were hamstrung by the tactics of the coach and captain. Now they are a shambles and young players don't know how to play... Trust their instincts or their captain? Cook needs to go for the betterment of English cricket

Posted by   on (June 25, 2014, 20:16 GMT)

Indians bowlers are the best to play when you are out of form, as they will ensure Cook regains his form, scores maybe a double and big century at least. Add to that the scores Bell would come up with (especially Dhoni will bring him back, even when he is out).

God help this Indian team, heading for further embarrassment, as now they will loose where SL won :).

Indian selection of pacers is also wrong, should have had Umesh Yadav anytime instead of either Pankaj/the other guy... No point taking someone as a net bowler, take someone who has a chance to play in the 11. Ideal team should have been...

1- Dhawan, 2- Vijay, 3- Pujara, 4- Kholi, 5- Rahane, 6- Binny, 7- Dhoni, 8- Ashwin, 9- Aaron, 10, Umesh, Shami

Included "Binny" cause if he can bat half decently and bowl good line and length, he will be key as he might get few wickets and lessen the workload on forntline seamers.

All pacers should be operated with a 5 overs short burst, with a licence to bowl thier heart out.

Posted by Herath-UK on (June 25, 2014, 19:23 GMT)

Loss to Sri Lanka in your own back yard with full confidence with a new set up is more damaging than the one in downtown foreign land with the team in disarray at the time in ashes. Now all united, cracks closed brimming with energy but had to lose to Sri Lanka. I would say it is more because of superb Sri Lanka rather than English weakness. Because of his I think England will do well against India.

Posted by cricketinghopesalive on (June 25, 2014, 19:23 GMT)

The English media always overrates players. According to me Cook is a decent test batsman, his captaincy is ok. I wont recommend Cook or Trott for ODIs and T20s. This series against India is a great chance for Cook to come to form, with the absence of Zaheer, India have not sting or experience in the bowling attack. I hope after Cook scores a couple of centuries people dont come up with a stupid article saying Cook the magician or the Phoenix or whatever . Let of your ego England and get back Pietersen, accept that you don't have talent and you had to hijack Eoin Morgan from Ireland. England are highly overrated for doing nothing.

Posted by nursery_ender on (June 25, 2014, 19:00 GMT)

Posted by KINGH11 on (June 25, 2014, 17:33 GMT) I am a sports journalist. My idea is Selection is not right. 1. Where is Tim Bresnin? why Jordan was given chance over him in such crucial time. 2. Why Steven Finn not Bowling. 3. Where is Morgan? England is a wonderful team, and capable of anything. Cook got out in same manner everytime even than he is not changing his style where he is giving edges. Cook is my Favorite but now losing his shine. Andrew Strauss should help him as they batted together so many times.

If you're a sports journalist then surely you're able to do the basic reasearch that would answer your questions. And enable you to spell 'Bresnan' correctly'.

Posted by Hardy1 on (June 25, 2014, 18:59 GMT)

A first home series defeat to Sri Lanka is a bit of a disaster but I don't think there's any need to panic. All the new players-Robson, Ballance, Moeen, Jordan, Plunkett-have performed well, & Root too produced a big innings. The series could easily have gone 1-0 the other way, & there are other good options in country cricket (Stokes, Woakes, Onions).

The biggest problems are the loss of Swann, whose rise coincided with English cricket's greatest period for over 2 decades, & Cook's loss of form. It looks like Cook will be given the 5 Test series against India, which I think is the right call because it's a good chance for him to find some form & I think once his batting comes good the captaincy issues will go away. If not then he'll be dropped & Bell made captain until he's ready to return & perform. The biggest problem is the spinner & I think persisting with Moeen is the right call, but put some more confidence in him. Unfortunately India aren't the best side to test new spinners.

Posted by geoffboyc on (June 25, 2014, 18:44 GMT)

Unfortunately for Moores, his own suitability for his post has been challenged almost as much as Cook's captaincy. Many at Old Trafford are far from certain his legacy there amounts to much. Consequently, his vouching for Cook, however genuine, will ring very hollow in some quarters. Many feel it may not be long before his time will be taken up defending his own position.

Posted by StreetView on (June 25, 2014, 18:44 GMT)

Dont worry Cook :P Our Indian bowlers are there to help you get back to form. And if that happens, RIP India :( Sadly, England 5-0 India is my prediction :(

Posted by testcricketfan123 on (June 25, 2014, 18:28 GMT)

@tinkertinker yeah Ryan Harris,Siddle,Hilfenhaus,Johnson(not as good as in the summer in the last Ashes series) n Bollinger all were mediocre trundlers right???those were the ones he was up against in 2010-11 Ashes where he scored heavily....

Posted by crickketlover on (June 25, 2014, 17:57 GMT)

India bowlers always are known to help out of form batsmen by their mediocre bowling attack overseas. So, Cook will be fine. He will score a couple of big hundreds against India and everyone will hail him as the best.

Posted by cric1965 on (June 25, 2014, 17:54 GMT)

England should find a quality spinner for balance bowling attack. Select old heroes, Bresnan, Steven Finn with Kevin Peterson to their side. Otherwise 5-0 against India.

Posted by KINGH11 on (June 25, 2014, 17:33 GMT)

I am a sports journalist. My idea is Selection is not right. 1. Where is Tim Bresnin? why Jordan was given chance over him in such crucial time. 2. Why Steven Finn not Bowling. 3. Where is Morgan? England is a wonderful team, and capable of anything. Cook got out in same manner everytime even than he is not changing his style where he is giving edges. Cook is my Favorite but now losing his shine. Andrew Strauss should help him as they batted together so many times.

Posted by Roshan_P on (June 25, 2014, 17:26 GMT)

If Moores really believes Cook can be a good captain then he better show it against India. Only then will I believe him.

Posted by Lassie.Perera on (June 25, 2014, 17:25 GMT)

Cook is a classy player. He has 25 tons to his name and that is something any ofher englishmen couldn 't do so far in the history of test cricket. I'm sure that he will bounce back handsomely against the Indians. As a Sri Lankan's supporter, I know that we were very lucky to get his wicket very cheaply. Anyway, that was another reason why we have won the series.

Posted by Blade-Runner on (June 25, 2014, 17:19 GMT)

Well, we all know who is most likely going to pay. #ENGvIND

Posted by steve48 on (June 25, 2014, 16:41 GMT)

That innings by Mo wasn't just epic, it showed real class and whatever is decided about the spinner, if he didn't earn himself a run in the side as a pure batsman, I really will stop supporting us! Robson and Ballance have done well, but neither look better long term bets than Moeen. To be honest, I could add Root to that.

Posted by   on (June 25, 2014, 16:37 GMT)

Moores may be ready to pay giving up his job second time if England were to perform so bad. Not a single test match win in a year? All the talk and hype. We end up with the same old results. Losing every match.

Cook finds captaincy a burden. Pls relinquish him of the burden and he will begin to produce runs. Any half good manager should see that.

Posted by tinkertinker on (June 25, 2014, 16:35 GMT)

cook is going to have so called form slumps whenever he faces a high quality bowling pace attack.

He should get back into "form" as soon as the indian trundlers hit town.

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David Hopps David Hopps joined ESPNcricinfo as UK editor early in 2012. For the previous 20 years he was a senior cricket writer for the Guardian and covered England extensively during that time in all Test-playing nations. He also covered four Olympic Games and has written several cricket books, including collections of cricket quotations. He has been an avid amateur cricketer since he was 12, and so knows the pain of repeated failure only too well. The pile of untouched novels he plans to read, but rarely gets around to, is now almost touching the ceiling. He divides his time between the ESPNcricinfo office in Hammersmith and his beloved Yorkshire.
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