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Former Australia captain, now a cricket commentator and columnist

Indecisive Cook hurting England

The team's constant failure to convert good positions has led to players losing confidence in their captain

Ian Chappell

June 29, 2014

Comments: 76 | Text size: A | A

Alastair Cook's captaincy: from bad in Australia to worse in England © PA Photos

Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni should send his Sri Lankan counterpart Angelo Mathews a crate of his favourite tipple immediately. And as a further gesture of gratitude, the BCCI, with the newfound wealth they'll inherit following the recent ICC "big three" deal, should offer to pay off all the Sri Lankan board's debt. That's how big a favour the Sri Lankans have done India on the eve of their Test series in England.

Not only did Sri Lanka beat England in their recently completed series, they prised open serious cracks in the host's "brave new world". The biggest of those fissures is right at the top: Alastair Cook's captaincy has gone from bad in Australia to worse in England.

Part of a selector's job is to recognise players who might be buoyed by the extra responsibility of leadership and those who are likely to be burdened by it. I'd put Cook in the second category - and his lean recent batting returns seem to confirm this theory. As such, he should never have been awarded the captaincy.

However, there weren't many other candidates at the time of Andrew Strauss' retirement (unless you count Kevin Pietersen and the England hierarchy obviously didn't), so Cook was anointed by default.

As a captain you have to admit to mistakes in judgement and quickly set about correcting them. By not admitting to flaws and addressing them quickly so he's not constantly being dismissed in the same manner, a player isn't going far. It's the same for selectors. If you make a mistake, own up to it and then correct it quickly so it doesn't become like a rolling stone gathering more and more moss.

I first harboured doubts about Cook's captaincy when the look of fear appeared in his eyes as Australia closed in on an unlikely victory at Trent Bridge in 2013. He got lucky on that occasion as Jimmy Anderson rose to the challenge and extracted him from the mire. However, his luck ran out in Australia, and the loss at Headingley this week displayed all the hallmarks of England's problems during the Ashes series Down Under.

A captain can learn a lot from his mistakes but other aspects of the job are inherent

Cook is not an instinctive captain and he's also ultra-conservative. I'd say the same about Strauss, except he had some qualities Cook doesn't possess. He had "presence" and he was decisive in his moves. He also led a side that was playing confidently and had all its stars at the height of their powers rather than on the wane. Nevertheless, Cook's indecisiveness - which leads to interminable between-overs conferences with experienced players - has a deflating effect on the team.

In nearly every Test in Australia, England forged a winning position with the ball but couldn't finish the job by clinching victory. The same thing happened at Headingley. The constant failure to convert a good position leads to players losing confidence in a captain. It also prompts rudderless performances like England produced during the match-turning partnership between Mathews and Rangana Herath.

A captain can learn a lot from his mistakes but other aspects of the job are inherent; unfortunately for Cook and England, how to correct his main deficiencies isn't teachable.

The India coach Duncan Fletcher supported Cook's retention and in doing so invoked the woes of Australian captain Mark Taylor in 1997. That's a poor comparison.

Taylor was a fine, attacking and instinctive captain before he hit his bad patch with the bat. Importantly, Taylor's captaincy remained highly efficient even when his bat failed him. Anyway, Taylor wasn't out of form in 1997, according to former Australia batsman Doug Walters; he was "batting too long".

This was Walters' summation of the problem when asked: "Think back to Greg Chappell when he was out of form," said Doug with a straight face, "he made ducks. Taylor keeps scoring 11, 13, 17. He's batting too long and everyone can see he's struggling."

Walters' twisted logic probably applies to Cook's current batting slump. And it's no surprise Fletcher pushed for Cook's retention. It's a smart ploy - any opponent would prefer to face a rudderless England piloted by a lifeless leader.

Former Australia captain Ian Chappell is now a cricket commentator for Channel 9, and a columnist

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Posted by shijin1429 on (July 3, 2014, 18:32 GMT)

Make bell as test captain and morgan as oneday captain,and cal bak kp,put cook as atest batsmen

my team oneday : Bell,Hales,Pieterson,Root,Morgan,Bopara,Butler,Broad,Onions,Tredwell,Anderson Test: Cook,Moinali,Kp,Bell,Root,Balance,Butler,Broad,Jordan,Anderson,Briggs

Posted by eggyroe on (July 3, 2014, 17:49 GMT)

@Cliff Chapman, with regard to your comment about Winning at all costs is wrong. When I was taught the game over 60 years ago by an ex County Player it was ingrained in us that First was First and second took part.Nobody remembers who came second only the winners.If we are to embark down the path of that there are no winners or losers in any sport then we should all pack up playing competitive sport.Because it appears to be politically correct that children should never know the meaning of defeat,and if you have never felt the disappointment of defeat then the urge to win is an unknown feeling irrespective of age.

Posted by   on (July 3, 2014, 11:19 GMT)

Well..SL has the bragging rights at the moment since they beat India at Asia Cup, WT20 and they beat ENG at their home soil. BTW..who cares about what happened in the past..not to mention SL has chased around India in SJ and Kalu's times. Cricket is as good as the last game you played..If India need to brag again defeat ENG in ENG in Tests (or AUS or at least NZ or any other top 7 team for that matter), and earn the bragging rights. Until then Indian team lacks the talent for Tests.

Posted by ITJOBSUCKS on (July 3, 2014, 7:02 GMT)

@Kasun Maduranga Check the performance of Ind, SL & Pak in the last decade during 2000 - 2011, you will find that Ind has won more than 25% of their matches whereas Sl have won less than 5% of their matches...lol

Posted by ITJOBSUCKS on (July 3, 2014, 6:51 GMT)

@Kasun Maduranga SL definitely doesn't need fan like you...lol If SL is competitive team, why do they keep losing in AUS(last time 3-0), SA, Ind all the time ??? Ind lost the series in Aus & Eng as they were carrying aging players....as i stated earlier, Ind had performed far far better than SL esp outside SC(check statsguru)...How can you say Indian top order is not good when Pujara, Kohli, Dhawan performed exceptionally well in SA & NZ(check statsguru)...in fact Kohli has got 3 100's outside SC(would've been 4 had he not got out on 98) compared to sanga's 6 who has been playing for ages now...lol As everyone(commentators, players, fans) has been saying that pitches were really flat in Eng this time around, so SL were lucky to win the series!!!

Posted by ITJOBSUCKS on (July 3, 2014, 6:47 GMT)

@Kasun Maduranga SL definitely doesn't need fans like you...LOL If SL is competitive team, why do they keep losing in AUS(last time 3-0), SA, Ind all the time ??? Ind lost the series in Aus & Eng as they were carrying aging players....as i stated earlier, Ind had performed far far better than SL esp outside SC(check statsguru)...How can you say Indian top order is not good when Pujara, Kohli, Dhawan performed exceptionally well in SA & NZ(check statsguru)...in fact Kohli has got 3 100's outside SC(would've been 4 had he not got out on 98) compared to sanga's 6 who has been playing for ages now...LOL As everyone(commentators, players, fans) has been saying that pitches were really flat in Eng this time around, so SL were lucky to win the series!!!

Posted by ITJOBSUCKS on (July 3, 2014, 6:45 GMT)

@Kasun Maduranga SL definitely doesn't need fans like you...LOL If SL is competitive team, why do they keep losing in AUS(last time 3-0), SA, Ind all the time ??? Ind lost the series in Aus & Eng as they were carrying aging players....as i stated earlier, Ind had performed far far better than SL esp outside SC(check statsguru)...How can you say Indian top order is not good when Pujara, Kohli, Dhawan performed exceptionally well in SA & NZ(check statsguru)...in fact Kohli has got 3 100's outside SC(would've been 4 had he not got out on 98) compared to sanga's 6 who has been playing for ages now...LOL

Posted by Greatest_Game on (July 3, 2014, 0:30 GMT)

Cricinfo readers are, if anything, consistent. They are adamantly for one or the other.

@ Pradeep Patel "... who do England have that can replace him ? (Kevin Pietersen?)

@ Calvin Govender "if not captain cook then who?" (Kevin Pietersen?)

@ DrJez "I would like to see the Cook critics name an alternative." (Kevin Pietersen?)

@ Shrikanth Ranganadham "if not Cook who else can captain England now."(Kevin Pietersen?)

Now if you think it is only me that think this way, think again:

@ PFEL "Just get it over with and name Pietersen captain."

@Tornado1 " they don't have any captain material in their team, other than Pietersen..."

@ bored_iam "Pietersen … were it not for Moores in charge."

Fire Moores & hire Pietersen. If that fails, blame Pietersen. He is blamed for everything else anyway! Cook has a wart: blame Pietertsen. Bell has hiccups: blame Pietertsen. Broad doesn't walk: blame Pietersen. Global warming: blame Pietersen. Vladimir Putin: blame Pietersen. World War II … etc

Posted by   on (July 2, 2014, 23:40 GMT)

@ITJOBSUCKS: lol, Definitely India need more blindly loyal and traditional fans like you to pull through these hard times. You are an endangered species even among modern Indian fans who "heckled" Ishanth Sharma during the tour match. As Dyland Don Paul said, India's overall record is still less than 12.5 % against the top 8 teams, which is same as SL. And SL is the only SC team to win a series in all three formats in England. True, India is better off in India. But thats not competitive cricket for me. But its not about comparing India to SL. India should do far better given the ammount of money they spend on cricket. And the truth is your top order lacks Test quality and Dhoni is not a tactical Test captain. India even lost last home test series against England. The new SL is far better under foreign conditions than India in my eyes. Lets hope Indian team prove me wrong this time around. It's been too long since they displayed the quality they are boasting about. Good Luck mate!!

Posted by   on (July 2, 2014, 17:27 GMT)

Cook may well actually prevent England from edging this series through his own tired and negative tactics. On flat pitches with little movement England will just coast and not try and make things happen. Cook's many critics have been severe but essentially they are spot-on. He needs to step down and start scoring big hundreds for England.

Posted by   on (July 2, 2014, 9:34 GMT)

Winning is everything! Wrong. Much better to remembered as an exciting, positve captain who took risks that didn't always come off, than a dull, boring captain who stuck to a game plan even when everyone else could se it wasn't working. All sports are entertainment and that's what spectators pay for. The record books may show an "unsuccessful" captain in terms of results, but who cares if the paying public enjoyed it.

Posted by   on (July 1, 2014, 14:48 GMT)

Doesn't matter who wins but its going to be a boring series, both captains are alike no one makes it interesting, I don't understand why dhoni takes same risk in tests like limited over games, I can understand cook not taking risks as it is his nature. No Interesting captains, no players who can make the series interesting, No Pietersen, No Sehwag, why would it not be a boring series.

Posted by Selassie-I on (July 1, 2014, 11:47 GMT)

Further to my previous comment - Chapel states that Mark Taylor's form wasn't actually bad - looking at the 96 and 97 years he averaged less during that period than cook has over the last year so to say that his form wasn't bad

Posted by 3winsfromlast4 on (July 1, 2014, 7:54 GMT)

Ian Chapell, has decided to write an easy option piece of the troubles of Cook.

Poor vision from him, and also others, who seem to have the same hymn book, like Shane Warne, Kevin Pietersen and another ex-media man whose name, thankfully, fails me but he used to edit the Sun newspaper. England is rebuilding. Immediate past Australian Captains, Ponting and Clarke had serious captaincy issues when their team was not so good. Ponting lost 3 Ashes series. How good was that? Who will replace Pietersen? To all those who still miss him…any one of Ballance, Robson, Root or Ali, all centurions, ( and Root a double centurion) in the two tests played since Pietersen took his own bat home.

Cook has played 2 tests with a new crop of players. Give him a break. The team will be newer still when probably Anderson and Broad. or one of them will be dropped for the next test. But to Chappell and others, keep on writing the easy pieces. How deficient is that?

Posted by   on (June 30, 2014, 18:19 GMT)

@ ITJOBSUCKS - India's overall record is still less than 12.5 % against the top 8 teams. SL are on even grounds with India with their win percentage. The only sub continent team who has a overall win % of over 20 is Pakistan. Even 20% is not a great record, I don't know why people gloat about it. SL however is the sub continent team to beat England in a test series since they received test status. If time frames are what is looked at, then the pre Dhoni era can be looked at to compare records as well. In any case times have shifted and the new era will be a shift in the tide again which begun from the Asia cup to wt20.

Posted by eggyroe on (June 30, 2014, 18:00 GMT)

@:Paul_Somerset, the definition of the word I used as "Default" in the passing of the England Captaincy to Alistair Cook from Andrew Strauss was "Go back automatically to a previously selected option".That does not make the selection of Alistair Cook right because that decision was made a long time prior to the retirement of Andrew Strauss.Surely the future Captain is appointed at the time of the previous incumbents retirement,not during his occupancy of the office.

Posted by DipsoManiac on (June 30, 2014, 17:37 GMT)

Totally agree with Ian.This is going to be a terrible series if you are looking for a tactical master class in captaincy.Both Dhoni and Cook as test captains are known to go on the back foot and set defensive fields at the slightest hint of aggression by the opposition.Both captains are going to take the safer option first when game is in the balance.England is going to score heavily against Indian seam attack,especially the lower middle order as Dhoni gets really defensive once opposition has lost 4-5 wickets.It's also going to be a good opportunity for English top order to get in form,especially Cook,given Dhoni's lack of confidence in his bowlers and inability to back them both on field and in public.Runs on board will help Cook stay positive and not retreat into setting too defensive fields.this series is between two young teams,both looking to win in spite of their uninspiring captains.i hope one team loses badly so at least 1 of those captains looses the job!

Posted by ITJOBSUCKS on (June 30, 2014, 12:14 GMT)

@Dayland Don Paul In fact Ind has won more than 25% of Testmatches outside SC during 2000-2011(before Eng series) whereas SL's is less than 5%!!!

Posted by ITJOBSUCKS on (June 30, 2014, 12:03 GMT)

@Dayland Don Paul I looked @ the stat, it says In had performed far better than colSl, Pak during 2000 - 2011 & winning %age ismore than 20 whereas Sl's is less than 5% which is absolutely shocking!!

Posted by   on (June 30, 2014, 11:07 GMT)

@ Arun Bose - SL legends played better than the Indians legends in England in 2011. They also did better than the younger team in India against England.

Posted by   on (June 30, 2014, 10:54 GMT)

@ Dark Man X - India lost to England in India. Did you conveniently forget that??

Posted by   on (June 30, 2014, 10:49 GMT)

@ ITJOBSUCKS - Unfortunately even though India has done soo good. Their win record against the top 8 test playing nations is lower than 12.5%. If I were an Indian supporter I would not talk about it,

Posted by ITJOBSUCKS on (June 30, 2014, 10:01 GMT)

@Kasun Maduranga Check the facts before posting anything!!! SL is yet to win a TEST in India & Australia....BTW, SL has won mere 7 Test matches outside SC!! BTW, India is the ONLY team that did well in AUS during their prime(1995-2008)...Ind drew the series in 2004 & would've won the series in 2008(1-2) had bucknor not made so many blunders!! India has performed far better than any SC team during 2000- 2011 outside SC!!!

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge-Needs-A-Hug on (June 30, 2014, 8:55 GMT)

May be it is the indecisiveness of the coach and management in not sacking Cook that is the real problem?

Posted by   on (June 30, 2014, 8:14 GMT)

Trot Merritt, I don't think it's just that England are losing, it's the way we're losing: dull negative cricket, lead by a dull negative captain. There are other factors involved too. The World Cup and high ticket prices are two.

Posted by warnerbasher on (June 30, 2014, 7:11 GMT)

I guess the only regret is how badly we must of bowled to Cook in 2010/2011 in Australia. The other 20 tests he has played against us he has been complete rubbish and in fact averages barely mid 20's. His batting average is diving, his captaincy is average but pleez, pleez pleez keep him in the team for the Ashes next year

Posted by   on (June 30, 2014, 4:56 GMT)

@Gavin Bruhn- India might not have won any series but they won many test matches there and in 2008 they were going to win the series if steve bucknor and co had not messed up with absolutely crappy umpiring in the first test at sydney, India eon the next one at PERTH and lost the last one..We would have the series by 2-1 but umpires messed up the first test(After this test ICC began working on DRS so that these kind of horrible decisions don't cause a team to lose a match).. India has won matches in Australia where as SRILANKA hasn't won a single match in Australia.. Check stats and then comment..

Posted by landl47 on (June 30, 2014, 2:54 GMT)

The player who should have been made captain when Strauss retired (and would probably still be playing if he had been) was Graeme Swann. Alas, he only led England 3 times, all in T20Is, and won 2 of them (in the 3rd England restricted the WI to 113 but the batsmen folded up, which wasn't Swann's fault). Those suggesting Pietersen could have been captained can't have watched either his previous attempt at the England captaincy or his dismal IPL campaign this year. He's as clueless as a captain as he is as a teammate.

Bell has captained Warks. with some success. He's an experienced player, sure of his place (it's only 2 tests since Root was dropped and he's still the youngest player in the side) and he does well under pressure, as the 2013 Ashes demonstrated. I'd give him a chance. Central contracts have made it very hard for players to gain experience of captaincy, so it's more or less a guessing game as to who will make a good leader.

Posted by DrJ-Detroit on (June 30, 2014, 2:03 GMT)

Its just a matter of time. As soon as the Indian bowlers start, Cook will find Bradmanesque form. Nothing cures a cold quite like a gin and tonic and nothing cures a woeful batting form quite like Indian bowling.

Posted by   on (June 30, 2014, 1:26 GMT)

I doubt the BCCI would be showering gifts on the Sri Lankan board - their successes in the recent tour might negatively affect their bottom line. If the crowds at the last test are anything to go by, the public are dissatisfied with the English teams performance. This means less people attending grounds, and less people following along on pay TV. I'm not accusing the English public of being fair-weather supporters, but the same sort of thing happens here in Australia. England as a team look thoroughly demoralised right now, a bit like Australia on last years india tour.

As much as I love watching England lose from winning postions, it's not good for test cricket as a whole if they are crushed in the first few matches. That being said, if England win the first test, then it could be game on for the series and big crowds as a result.

Posted by   on (June 29, 2014, 23:18 GMT)

Rolling stones gather no moss Ian! Snowballs rolling down a hill on the other hand ...

Posted by   on (June 29, 2014, 22:45 GMT)

But Chappel cook doesn't need to worry abt his or his batters form atleast bcz India has arrived & Indian bowlers r giving all signs of generosity.......................................................Which means India cannot win anything..........& in 8 odd inn they r likely to have at least 1 bad inns so series in pocket for Eng!!

Posted by   on (June 29, 2014, 22:41 GMT)

@Stup1d u sure r..............Eng should have won this series comfortably not via close encounters, Just like what SA did to Ind ........They were playing at home vs 6th ranked side.

In hoopla abt close encounters avg minded people tend to overlook big picture.

Posted by   on (June 29, 2014, 22:39 GMT)

@ Arun Bose..please explain when India gave Australia a tough time in Australia...? Is a 3-0 whitewash a tough time (in the 90's)..? or a 4-0 whitewash like the last series. India have never won in Australia.

Posted by Joll on (June 29, 2014, 22:25 GMT)

England are too slow to learn their lessons. Blaming Pietersen for the Ashes defeats can now be seen to be sheer folly. The problem was, and is, more deeply rooted. Cook is not captaincy material, and so should resign and hand the captaincy over to Joe Root. Cook should go back to concentrating on his batting. Prior should be replaced as keeper, and where is Ben Stokes, the only English success story in the last Ashes campaign? England must pick some form players, to inject a bit of enthusiasm and, hopefully, youth into the team. The core of this current team have been together too long. Clearly, things are not working. When something doesn't work, fix it. There is no point in rearranging parts that don't work, which is what the English selectors seem to do with the players.

Posted by Paul_Somerset on (June 29, 2014, 22:12 GMT)

Cook did not get the captaincy "by default". The decision to make him captain preceded Strauss's retirement by several years. Giles Clarke has explained the reasoning: "He and his family are very much the sort of people we want the England captain and his family to be."

Cook's on-field captaincy experience was irrelevant - he didn't have any for one thing. The crucial point was that he came from a family who would attract the likes of Waitrose as shirt sponsors, and on that basis Clarke and the ECB will back him whatever the embarrassment he causes on the field.

Posted by   on (June 29, 2014, 21:22 GMT)

Excellent article except that a rolling stone gathers no moss, not more and more moss.

Posted by ballsintherightareas on (June 29, 2014, 20:14 GMT)

@neil99 So you want Cook's record to speak for itself?

Records of England test captains who captained at least ten tests since Brearley:

Captain Won Drawn Lost Brearley, J M 58.06% 29.03% 12.90% Vaughan, M P 50.98% 27.45% 21.57% Strauss, A J 46.00% 32.00% 22.00% Cook, A N*# 39.13% 30.43% 26.09% Willis, R G D 38.89% 33.33% 27.78% Hussain, N 37.78% 28.89% 33.33% Gooch, G A 29.41% 35.29% 35.29% Stewart, A J 26.67% 20.00% 53.33% Atherton, M A 24.07% 37.04% 38.89% Flintoff, A 18.18% 18.18% 63.64% Gower, D I 15.63% 28.13% 56.25% Gatting, M W 8.70% 69.57% 21.74% Botham, I T 0.00% 66.67% 33.33%

Oh, and in ODIs he also got the best win percentage of any England captain since Mike Gatting.

Posted by   on (June 29, 2014, 18:08 GMT)

Great psychological ploy from Duncan Fletcher..calling for Cook to carry on just as

as India arrive in the country. He knows that Cook is a very weak leader and India have a chance of edging the series.

Posted by   on (June 29, 2014, 17:16 GMT)

if SL can beat england 1-0, india can beat emngland 10-0!

Posted by WalkingWicket11 on (June 29, 2014, 15:43 GMT)

Oh come on, just a matter of two balls and the game would have been drawn. Don't make a big deal out of it. PS: Leave Cook alone at least until end of the India tour. That gives India some chance of avoiding a 5-0 whitewash. :P

Posted by eggyroe on (June 29, 2014, 15:39 GMT)

An excellent article,the position England find themselves is reminiscent of the position they found themselves in 2007 after another Ashes Whitewash which Andrew Flintoff oversaw.We then had Michael Vaughan returning from a long term injury and lasted in power for the next 12 month's.We then embarked on the ill-fated Pietersen era,which heralded the very successful Andrew Strauss period in which England reached the pinnacle of being the top rated Test Team in the World and 2 Ashes Series winning campaigns.Alas I think that Alistair Cook ended up with the job by default because of being the Vice Captain,there is one thing running around after the captain and when he is off the field carrying out his instructions,but another when you are that person who has to make those decisions.Personally it is my opinion that Alistair Cook has given his all for the team as captain but alas is not up to the job.My option for Captain would be Joe Root,but retain Cook as opener.

Posted by Tornado1 on (June 29, 2014, 14:57 GMT)

Unfortunately England doesn't have any option left, they don't have any captain material in their team, other than Pietersen and they kicked him out, or they may try some fresh blood, may be Root or Moeen Ali?

Posted by liz1558 on (June 29, 2014, 14:55 GMT)

@BradmanBestever - succinctly put and true.

Posted by bored_iam on (June 29, 2014, 14:54 GMT)

@DrJez: Bell, for one! Root, as many have suggested, in a Graeme_Smith-ian move. That's two. I would've probably added Pietersen too were it not for Moores in charge.

Posted by liz1558 on (June 29, 2014, 14:52 GMT)

Cook as captain is like Vitas Gerulaitis, who lost 16 games on the trot to Jimmy Conners. Vitas won the 17th game and at the press conference afterwards said: 'let that be a lesson to you. No man beats Vitas Geulaitis 17 games in a row.' What he said in jest seems to be a serious proposition for Cook.

Posted by KFRITZ on (June 29, 2014, 14:45 GMT)

Any other captain would have won the headingley test..Cook lost it for England...

Posted by   on (June 29, 2014, 14:39 GMT)

@cheguramana- I don't know you realise it or not but if India beats England then you would become a laughing stock for such a nonsense comment.. Dude, It's not football It's cricket and nothing is certain in cricket.. India was the only team during Australia's prime period which gave aussies a tough time in Oz where every other team were just a punching bag for Australia.. SL was and is the worst of all of them(last time they lost by 3-0 drubbing in Australia).. SL yet hasn't won any test match in AUS and IND.. India beats SL in SL all the time.. Concentrate on that rather than Indian cricket.. These youngsters will perform better than your so called legends..

Posted by BradmanBestEver on (June 29, 2014, 14:27 GMT)

Cook has lost the plot and the hierarchy do not know how to deal with the situation. Bad signs.

Posted by cheguramana on (June 29, 2014, 14:11 GMT)

i dont think Cook and England team need to worry too much. usually failing and out-of-form players bounce back when playing against India. Esp when India is playing overseas.

Posted by   on (June 29, 2014, 13:55 GMT)

if not captain cook then who.no one at this moment.cook will turn the tide and england can beat the middle to lower tier teams.no glory for long time.

Posted by   on (June 29, 2014, 13:29 GMT)

The decision to rest England players will surely haunt ECB after and during this series bcz they need to be in match situation to build their confidence and hone their skills not by playing video games at home.. This is one decision that will open up the box filled with plethora of criticism ahead for England and Captain Cook.. Cook should be playing in a county game right now to gather some confidence in his batting only then he could think clearly abt what to do as a captain.. England mustn't be overconfident only bcz Indian bowlers performed badly in the first practice match bcz it was a practice match and unofficial too.. England is a team which needs confidence from anywhere possible and India has provided them with a false confidence that they can take Indian bowlers lightly but I believe come 9th july, Indian bowlers will unleash hell on England batters..

Posted by PFEL on (June 29, 2014, 13:20 GMT)

Just get it over with and name Pietersen captain. Might actually win a few tests.

Posted by neil99 on (June 29, 2014, 12:35 GMT)

Glen1 - "the batsmen can excel, especially as Jimmy looks tired" Tired? Anderson has only played 2 tests and a handful of FC games.

Sir Francis - "give Cook a good team and he'll win" - nonsense. So the players should carry the captain? Cooks out of his depth. He's failing to control and enthuse his senior players, so lets hope he isn't given the time to negatively affect the new breed.

Ballsintherightareas - what "witch hunt is this?" Cooks cricket does the talking. 5-0 Ashes, first home series loss to SL and countless ODI losses. He repeats his mistakes, can't admit failure and doesn't learn. The paying public deserve better than this shambles.

Posted by DrJez on (June 29, 2014, 12:04 GMT)

I would like to see the Cook critics name an alternative. It is easy to criticise.

Posted by rizwan1981 on (June 29, 2014, 11:58 GMT)

Cook should ask Mahela Jayawadena for tips on captaincy - Mahela is the unofficial captain of the Sri Lankan team and probably the best tactician the game has seen

Posted by   on (June 29, 2014, 11:54 GMT)

if not Cook who else can captain England now.

Posted by   on (June 29, 2014, 11:06 GMT)

Rohit - Chappell doesn't say 'set attacking fields all the time'. He says Cook is indecisive, which affects team morale, and that the pressure of captaincy has affected his batting. He also says he's ultra-conservative and lacks instinct - again, not the same as saying 'attack at all costs'.

It's the sort of stuff you get away with when your team is full of stars, but don't when the stars go out.

Posted by Herath-UK on (June 29, 2014, 10:35 GMT)

You are on the money to say India owe big time to Sri Lanka & surely BCCI will be ever grateful. No better time than this for flagging india to beat England. BCCI can't expect a better favour from Sri Lanka than this.

Posted by geoffboyc on (June 29, 2014, 10:24 GMT)

Chappell has put his finger on the situation the England team and captain find themselves in just now. Under a positive captain they could have won both the Sri Lankan tests and got more from the Ashes series even had they still lost. What's more you sense the players know it. Looking at the cold stats is a waste of time; you have to look at the last four consecutive series and regrettably Cook has batted and captained poorly or indifferently in all of them and if anything it's getting worse not better. Even so, a sudden and badly managed change now might not be the solution, but it should be on someone's agenda for serious consideration sometime soon if things don't improve.

Posted by   on (June 29, 2014, 10:04 GMT)

Chappell continues to right articles every week about aggressive captaincy but I don't think he understands the game as it is now. Things have changed and batsman thanks to T20 have a greater knowledge of how they can and can't attack. As a result more and more batsman have began attacking and setting continuously aggressive fields as captain against quality sides will possibly lead to the game slipping out. I can point examples including vs SA in Perth, vs India in Chennai and vs India at Mohali. In all three games Clarke continued to set aggressive fields when the opposition were in front and the opposition took to the opportunity to score freely and only improved their position. In contrast captains like Graeme Smith realised when the game was slipping out (vs India at Wanderers, and at the GABBA and Adelaide). The end result meant the opposition had less time to bat and salvage a draw. Captaincy is a percentage game. Attack when you are on top but no the limits.

Posted by Kavum on (June 29, 2014, 10:00 GMT)

The days of Brearley are gone. Cook has to merit his place. Then you have to look at captaincy. The final result in these days of ratings and rankings is: do you win and draw more than you lose? There is no excuse saying we won 4 days or 12 sessions and lost the other three and, thereby, the match. While the corporate machinations of being in the big three and ruling the roost must occupy the mind, the England ethos of Grace, Jardine, May and Dexter let alone Illy and Brearley, must not surrender to this mediocrity that espouses conformity and exiles talent. In my book Dunc Fletcher was the initial culprit and his successors invariably stuck to the script of mechanical cricket. They may have even dropped Botham or Gower and would have certainly have banned Boycott for having a personality and an opinion. History does repeat and as the old saying goes .......

Posted by Patchmaster on (June 29, 2014, 9:36 GMT)

I have to agree - ENG need a very strong captain in these difficult times, and Cook just ain't it. I personally think they should do what South Africa did, and blood a young, long term captain like Root or similar, because the present senior players such as Prior or Bell, are too similar to Cook.

Posted by MiddleStumpMike on (June 29, 2014, 9:15 GMT)

@ballsintherightareas - it's not a witch hunt, it's just that many commentators and fans prefer not to bury their heads in the sand and just hope that a possible batting return to form will magically turn Cook into an adequate captain.

Posted by IAS2009 on (June 29, 2014, 9:12 GMT)

Cook is really struggling as batsman and captain both, Chappell has a very good point and that alone should be good enough to change the captain or help Cook to be more aggressive approach, i don't think captains are only responsible for making decisions, the coaches and team plan a strategy for any game, in the end everyone praise or criticize captain, that how it goes. England is a team short on confidence, it was evident in their ashes campaign in England, but they were exposed in Australia really bad, the top order is almost non existing so they can never dictate in Test matches batting first, so bowlers are always under pressure and don't have runs to play, when Cook scored in India they won in India that is how much it is important for him to score, when he block one end England looks good for big score, England played better than SL but lost crucial period in series because of no self belief both team and captain, they should have declared on 4th day in first test for win.

Posted by ballsintherightareas on (June 29, 2014, 7:03 GMT)

The more this witchhunt gathers steam, the less logic it seems is needed to back up an argument.

If Cook is so burdonned by the captaincy, how come his test batting average is almost identical as captain or not captain, and in ODIs his average is about 11 runs higher as captain than not?

Fletcher was quite right. Look at the stats of literally any player with a long career and you'll see that he goes through years in which he has a very high average, and years in which he has a very low average, and his average in any given year is completely useless as a predictor of his average in the following year. It often swings from extremely low to high or vice versa. Cook's average in 2013 was actually about 30.

Seeing as Cook scored roughly the same number of runs, as roughly the same average, as the other England batsmen in Australia over the winter, wouldn't it be more logical to assume that he was not in fact in bad form, but rather the Australians bowled and fielded extremely well?

Posted by jimbond on (June 29, 2014, 6:50 GMT)

Don't go by the Indian teams performance against Leicst. It was a featherbed of a pitch created to ensure that the Indian batsmen do not get any realistic practice, and India do not get to know who their best bowlers on these pitches are. The real test pitches will be very different with a lot of life and swing. India will be well advised to retain Bhuvaneswar kumar along with Shami, and also try out someone like Pandey or Pankaj Singh in the tests. English performance against India may be better than that against SL.

Posted by   on (June 29, 2014, 4:49 GMT)

I agree Cook is not a natural leader or attacker. Even with the bat, he lacks attacking instincts. However, he won't get a bigger chance than the visit of the Indian team to redeem himself and the English team. I always think Sri Lankan team is far better than India under foreign conditions. Sri Lankan top order can handle swing and bounce better than Indians, and recently they have been a attacking unit in bowling and fielding. Last few years proved that Indians are clueless under foreign conditions. They simply lack the quality required for Test Match Cricket away from the sub-continent. Hopefully Cook can regain some of his confidence in this series, because at the moment there is no one else in the English setup who could take on the role.

Posted by electric_loco_WAP4 on (June 29, 2014, 4:39 GMT)

cont - Ultimately it comes down to the old adage , a captain is as good as his team.Take case of M Clarke,captain of no.1 team in world.For all his captaincy brilliance he has the team to match.He's got worlds best attack,best quick of this gen in Mitch.

Posted by Sir_Francis on (June 29, 2014, 4:19 GMT)

Chappell may well be right in all he says but I get annoyed when pundits write speculation as if it were incontrovertible fact. He says players are losing confidence. How is that possible when several of the team are brand new and haven't had time to lose confidence in their captain and several others have their own form worries. if anything, Cook must have lost confidence in some of his players, like Broad & Anderson. It's not like Cook is the only one here. Most of the England team since the Ashes have not been performing which prompted so many changes. Both in the team and outside. As for captaincy, the same things were said about Ponting (especially by Warne & Chappell) but he did ok (as long as he had good players with him - give Cook a good team and he'll win - like he did whe he first was awarded the captaincy).

Posted by electric_loco_WAP4 on (June 29, 2014, 4:19 GMT)

As Chappel rightly points out Cooks failings as captain manifests in a long losing streak and is not helped by lack of quality options in core areas-batting,bowling and even keeping.In short he's been caught up in a tough vicious circle.

Posted by Lion83 on (June 29, 2014, 4:19 GMT)

I dont think Indai will be able to win against Eng in England despite England really struggling at the moment. Current indian batsmen will find it difficult to score runs outside subcontinent apart from Kohli. MSD is also a very defensive captan like COOK.

Posted by Hrolf on (June 29, 2014, 4:16 GMT)

One solution to the captaincy issue is for Cook to allow the bowlers full reign over the tactics employed when they are bowling, and for Cook to act as a man-manager and mentor. A lot of bowlers would thrive in these conditions and it would give them potential captaincy experience.

Posted by rajkirp on (June 29, 2014, 4:09 GMT)

England need not fret. The Indian bowling performance against Leicester team should give them confidence to win against India. One more trial match before the first test. If India cannot get a handle on their bowling, then it will be a good opportunity for Cook, Bell, Root and others to improve their batting averages.

Posted by glen1 on (June 29, 2014, 3:35 GMT)

We have to see whether India can cash in on the weaknesses laid bare by Sri Lanka. India does not have the killer instinct when playing outside the subcontinent. The batsmen can excel, especially since Jimmy looks tired; however, the bowlers lack line and length. Instead it could be the other way around, with Cook ending up scoring centuries and maybe even winning tests. Still at the end of the day, England does not seem to have promising players for the future, and ashes could be all one sided and boring.

Posted by   on (June 29, 2014, 3:33 GMT)

Being a bit harsh aint u Ian??I am not going to say he is the best English skipper but even today , who do England have that can replace him ?.Admittedly he is a cautious and conservative captain and at times has missed going for the kill where someone like yourself would have grabbed the bull by the horns. he does have to improve his form first and then his leadership qualities if he is to remain the captain-that i will agree on.

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Ian ChappellClose
Ian Chappell Widely regarded as the best Australian captain of the last 50 years, Ian Chappell moulded a team in his image: tough, positive, and fearless. Even though Chappell sometimes risked defeat playing for a win, Australia did not lose a Test series under him between 1971 and 1975. He was an aggressive batsman himself, always ready to hook a bouncer and unafraid to use his feet against the spinners. In 1977 he played a lead role in the defection of a number of Australian players to Kerry Packer's World Series Cricket, which did not endear him to the administrators, who he regarded with contempt in any case. After retirement, he made an easy switch to television, where he has come to be known as a trenchant and fiercely independent voice.
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