The Investec Ashes 2013 August 13, 2013

Cook is a strong leader - Flower

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Andy Flower has praised the captaincy of Alastair Cook as a crucial factor in England's success in the Investec Ashes. England secured a series win over Australia in Durham on Monday and are now unbeaten in their last 12 Tests and last four series since Cook was appointed.

While Flower, the England team director, admitted the side had not played to their true potential over the first four matches of the series, he was full of praise for the team's attitude and the calm direction provided by Cook.

"I don't think we've played our best cricket in the series," Flower said. "But what we have done is been resilient. We've held ourselves well in pressure situations.

"Cook's captaincy has been excellent: strong in the dressing room and out in the field. He made some decisions that turned the game, such as bringing on Bresnan, who got Warner straight away. He's been maligned in some areas, I've heard. I'm not sure what is said off the field but we judge ourselves by our own standards.

"As a Test captain he is still a young man but he has led the side brilliantly. He's a strong leader and he's made some really good decisions in this Test series."

Cook's leadership has been heavily criticised by some, with former Australian legspinner Shane Warne a persistent negative voice. Indeed, Warne took to Twitter on Monday to say: "Cook is having a horror with his captaincy in the last two Tests. He set the tone early being very defensive and negative today."

Warne was also critical of the decision to bring Bresnan back into the attack on the fourth afternoon of the game. But Bresnan claimed the breakthrough wicket of David Warner with the fourth delivery of a fine six-over spell that also included the wicket of Shane Watson.

Flower also praised the contribution of Stuart Broad, who claimed 11 wickets in the match and produced a top-class spell on the fourth day as England claimed nine wickets after tea. But he admitted the Ashes tour to Australia will present further challenges and require England to adapt.

"It was nice being part of that afternoon session where Broad and Cook turned things around for us," Flower said. "Broad's spell of bowling was outstanding, showing real competitiveness, flair, nous and heart. They are all great qualities that reside in some of these very fine players.

"Playing in Australia will be a bigger challenge and we've already got some of our planning in operation. It will be a tough series and conditions will be very different. South Africa went there last winter and nearly lost to a very similar team to the one we've faced.

"We won in India last winter and that was a good example of adapting to very different conditions. We'll have to do that in Australia if we are to thrive out there."

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • 2MikeGattings on August 13, 2013, 20:49 GMT

    Being defensive is not the same as being passive. You can defend planfully. It is also possible to attack heedlesslessly and hyperactively.

    Cook is clearly on the conservative end of the scale and sometimes England do seem a bit rigid and predictable in the field. To me Clarke mixes it up too much. Like putting a silly mid off in front of Bell and letting him hit boundaries to 3rd man. Sometimes you can just let Siddle bowl at the top of off stump to a conventional field.

    It's partly down to perceptions. Clarke alters the field restlessly and changes the bowlers every 5 overs. When it comes off, he's a tactical genius. Cook is never going to get much credit for just letting his bowlers plug away doing what they do well.

    I thought McCullum did a fantastic job against England recently. His plans to the English batsmen were very intelligent, and his team often succeeded in stopping runs from flowing by well executed attacking strategies.

  • JG2704 on August 14, 2013, 17:48 GMT

    @Lliam Flynn on (August 14, 2013, 15:55 GMT) I think results have under Cook been mixed.

    Winning a test series in India , esp after the thrashing in the 1st test was amazing. India have always been an icredibly difficult team to beat on their own turf. Drawing 0-0 in NZ - which should have been 1-0 to NZ - was disappointing. 2-0 vs NZ at home was predictable but I suppose it seemed better due to the closer series in NZ. Winning 3-0 against Aus is an excellent scoreline - if flattering. All in all I'd say Cook has been a lucky captain and Eng under Cook have been better than the detractors have them down as being but not as great as some of the cheerleaders make out

  • on August 14, 2013, 15:55 GMT

    @JG2704

    I totally agree with all you have written. Let's all not get too carried away and hagiographic over Cook. As pointed out half of the much-lauded English non-losing streak came against New Zealand (not knocking NZ but if you are going to prolong a winning streak you would choose the world #8 ranked side) and they were pushed very close in at least two games. Oz probably objectively got the short end of the decisions/DRS in the most recent series and had the rain stayed away Eng were about a coin flip chance from losing the Third Test. The Eng bowling and fielding appears to be set to rigid plans (why has Root bowled just 14 overs this series?) and when things don't go according to script the team shuts down. Clarke is forced to make bold plans because he needs to mix it up and take risks to get regular wickets to prevent the chase being too high. On the other hand, with a settled side of players with decent averages, Cook doesn't need to do anything extraordinary to win.

  • YorkshirePudding on August 14, 2013, 11:32 GMT

    @Karl Jenaway, Dhoni an attacking captain, did you not watch his field settings when in England and Aus in 2011, and again when england played India at the end of 2012, he was so defensive, he made Strauss look like an attacking captain, which really says something.

  • 5wombats on August 14, 2013, 11:09 GMT

    @SreeramR (August 14, 2013, 10:47 GMT) rubbish. I suppose those 3 Innings victories by England in Australia in 2010/11 were unworthy and lucky as well? What did you think of England's performance in India recently? Good wasn't it? Did you see it?

  • SreeramR on August 14, 2013, 10:47 GMT

    It was absolutely lucky for the English to win the Ashes.... A totally undeserving team... Helped by DRS and Australia's poor performance.....

  • 5wombats on August 14, 2013, 9:04 GMT

    Thank you @sachin_vvsfan - I was going to reply to @PTtheAxis - but you said it better than I could. A captain is as good as the team. Fleming is an excellent example to use. I always thought he was a great player and captain. I'm not sure that Cook is that good a captain - he works to a "formula" and just follows the formula. A lot of England fans find this frustrating, but to be honest - this isn't a great England team; it doesn't have the power to force the issue like the Old Australia or West Indies. Instead this England team play percentages and try to play to their strength which is in the bowling/attrition columns, and Cook presides over this. As you rightly say Cook was immense in India and did what needed to be done when others could not whilst at the same time captaining the side in very hostile conditions. Even now he's only been captain for less than a year. Perhaps in time he will develop a style more of his own. We'll see.

  • JG2704 on August 14, 2013, 8:55 GMT

    I'd say that so far he's been a lucky captain - 3 instances

    1 - in NZ when BM (IMO) should have made Eng follow on and NZ def batted on too long as was proven when Eng saw out the final session wit Prior , Broad,Jimmy and Monty

    2- vs NZ at home - when Cook ignored the weather forecast and a combo of Eng bowlers bowling NZ out quicker than expected and the weather being a little better than anticipated saved his blushes

    3 - vs Aus (3rd test) - when Eng were obviously saved by rain

    I think the top 2 examples show the difference between being lucky as a captain (in Cook's case) and unlucky (in BM's case) when both captains made decisions which cost/could have cost their sidees a win

  • JG2704 on August 14, 2013, 8:46 GMT

    Difficult to judge in a way. From a pro Cook point of view , his debut series in India was a baptism of fire and after a poor 1st test where Eng also made an atrocious bowling selection he and Eng turned it around and he led by example. However since then , I'm not so sure. On a positive point Eng won a couple of games they looked like they might lose vs Australia so he must have done something right. I will though say that of the 12 match unbeaten run , only the 3 matches in India were what could be described as above par. Eng would have been expected to win at home vs Aus (which they're doing) , at home vs NZ which they did and away vs NZ which they failed in and would have lost had BM not lost it as a captain To me Cook is more of a Flower Robot - more of a supervisor than anything else and is generally too defensive which is great when it's working but like Strauss before him , I'm not sure he has it in him to change tact when necessary

  • JG2704 on August 14, 2013, 8:38 GMT

    @sachin_vvsfan on (August 13, 2013, 13:49 GMT) Agreed. Some captains have better tools to work with than others. Personally I still prefer Clarke as a captain. I thought Mccullum's captaincy in the away NZ series was excellent apart from the 3rd test where I still believe he should have made Eng bat again and (as proven) batted on for too long , but I liked his aggressive intent

    @Ramachandran Narayanon (August 13, 2013, 14:44 GMT) If your reckoning is true then it's true of all cricket nations bar maybe SA. Maybe Eng batsmen are just that little bit less brittle and bowlers a little bit more up to the mark than other nations

  • 2MikeGattings on August 13, 2013, 20:49 GMT

    Being defensive is not the same as being passive. You can defend planfully. It is also possible to attack heedlesslessly and hyperactively.

    Cook is clearly on the conservative end of the scale and sometimes England do seem a bit rigid and predictable in the field. To me Clarke mixes it up too much. Like putting a silly mid off in front of Bell and letting him hit boundaries to 3rd man. Sometimes you can just let Siddle bowl at the top of off stump to a conventional field.

    It's partly down to perceptions. Clarke alters the field restlessly and changes the bowlers every 5 overs. When it comes off, he's a tactical genius. Cook is never going to get much credit for just letting his bowlers plug away doing what they do well.

    I thought McCullum did a fantastic job against England recently. His plans to the English batsmen were very intelligent, and his team often succeeded in stopping runs from flowing by well executed attacking strategies.

  • JG2704 on August 14, 2013, 17:48 GMT

    @Lliam Flynn on (August 14, 2013, 15:55 GMT) I think results have under Cook been mixed.

    Winning a test series in India , esp after the thrashing in the 1st test was amazing. India have always been an icredibly difficult team to beat on their own turf. Drawing 0-0 in NZ - which should have been 1-0 to NZ - was disappointing. 2-0 vs NZ at home was predictable but I suppose it seemed better due to the closer series in NZ. Winning 3-0 against Aus is an excellent scoreline - if flattering. All in all I'd say Cook has been a lucky captain and Eng under Cook have been better than the detractors have them down as being but not as great as some of the cheerleaders make out

  • on August 14, 2013, 15:55 GMT

    @JG2704

    I totally agree with all you have written. Let's all not get too carried away and hagiographic over Cook. As pointed out half of the much-lauded English non-losing streak came against New Zealand (not knocking NZ but if you are going to prolong a winning streak you would choose the world #8 ranked side) and they were pushed very close in at least two games. Oz probably objectively got the short end of the decisions/DRS in the most recent series and had the rain stayed away Eng were about a coin flip chance from losing the Third Test. The Eng bowling and fielding appears to be set to rigid plans (why has Root bowled just 14 overs this series?) and when things don't go according to script the team shuts down. Clarke is forced to make bold plans because he needs to mix it up and take risks to get regular wickets to prevent the chase being too high. On the other hand, with a settled side of players with decent averages, Cook doesn't need to do anything extraordinary to win.

  • YorkshirePudding on August 14, 2013, 11:32 GMT

    @Karl Jenaway, Dhoni an attacking captain, did you not watch his field settings when in England and Aus in 2011, and again when england played India at the end of 2012, he was so defensive, he made Strauss look like an attacking captain, which really says something.

  • 5wombats on August 14, 2013, 11:09 GMT

    @SreeramR (August 14, 2013, 10:47 GMT) rubbish. I suppose those 3 Innings victories by England in Australia in 2010/11 were unworthy and lucky as well? What did you think of England's performance in India recently? Good wasn't it? Did you see it?

  • SreeramR on August 14, 2013, 10:47 GMT

    It was absolutely lucky for the English to win the Ashes.... A totally undeserving team... Helped by DRS and Australia's poor performance.....

  • 5wombats on August 14, 2013, 9:04 GMT

    Thank you @sachin_vvsfan - I was going to reply to @PTtheAxis - but you said it better than I could. A captain is as good as the team. Fleming is an excellent example to use. I always thought he was a great player and captain. I'm not sure that Cook is that good a captain - he works to a "formula" and just follows the formula. A lot of England fans find this frustrating, but to be honest - this isn't a great England team; it doesn't have the power to force the issue like the Old Australia or West Indies. Instead this England team play percentages and try to play to their strength which is in the bowling/attrition columns, and Cook presides over this. As you rightly say Cook was immense in India and did what needed to be done when others could not whilst at the same time captaining the side in very hostile conditions. Even now he's only been captain for less than a year. Perhaps in time he will develop a style more of his own. We'll see.

  • JG2704 on August 14, 2013, 8:55 GMT

    I'd say that so far he's been a lucky captain - 3 instances

    1 - in NZ when BM (IMO) should have made Eng follow on and NZ def batted on too long as was proven when Eng saw out the final session wit Prior , Broad,Jimmy and Monty

    2- vs NZ at home - when Cook ignored the weather forecast and a combo of Eng bowlers bowling NZ out quicker than expected and the weather being a little better than anticipated saved his blushes

    3 - vs Aus (3rd test) - when Eng were obviously saved by rain

    I think the top 2 examples show the difference between being lucky as a captain (in Cook's case) and unlucky (in BM's case) when both captains made decisions which cost/could have cost their sidees a win

  • JG2704 on August 14, 2013, 8:46 GMT

    Difficult to judge in a way. From a pro Cook point of view , his debut series in India was a baptism of fire and after a poor 1st test where Eng also made an atrocious bowling selection he and Eng turned it around and he led by example. However since then , I'm not so sure. On a positive point Eng won a couple of games they looked like they might lose vs Australia so he must have done something right. I will though say that of the 12 match unbeaten run , only the 3 matches in India were what could be described as above par. Eng would have been expected to win at home vs Aus (which they're doing) , at home vs NZ which they did and away vs NZ which they failed in and would have lost had BM not lost it as a captain To me Cook is more of a Flower Robot - more of a supervisor than anything else and is generally too defensive which is great when it's working but like Strauss before him , I'm not sure he has it in him to change tact when necessary

  • JG2704 on August 14, 2013, 8:38 GMT

    @sachin_vvsfan on (August 13, 2013, 13:49 GMT) Agreed. Some captains have better tools to work with than others. Personally I still prefer Clarke as a captain. I thought Mccullum's captaincy in the away NZ series was excellent apart from the 3rd test where I still believe he should have made Eng bat again and (as proven) batted on for too long , but I liked his aggressive intent

    @Ramachandran Narayanon (August 13, 2013, 14:44 GMT) If your reckoning is true then it's true of all cricket nations bar maybe SA. Maybe Eng batsmen are just that little bit less brittle and bowlers a little bit more up to the mark than other nations

  • PTtheAxis on August 14, 2013, 8:24 GMT

    england have a much stronger team and still the series has been very close. that tells you all you need to know about cook's captaincy. give clarke this england team and cook this oz team and there will be a complete rout. who will rout who is selfevident. cook is getting to be in dhoni mode. chasing the ball and no imagination. if england have gotten wickets its just because of bowlers bowling unplayable balls rather than any field setting pressure. even if the plan is to bowlshort balls into the ribs for pup etc there have been no close catchers (forward short leg etc) to be seen anywhere. any decent batting side will take this england side to the cleaners and aussies showed that in the 1st innings of 3rd test.

  • YorkshirePudding on August 14, 2013, 7:46 GMT

    @Nutcutlet, fair point but Jardine was often overbearing, and had a lot of personal axes to grind. As for loyalty to his players give me a break, when the england team got back he refused to back Larwood in front of an MCC panel, Larwood did exactly what Jardine asked, yet his captain did not back him that isnt loyalty, thats self preservation.

    Jardine played again for england, Larwood never would as he refused to sign a letter apologising for something he was told to do by his captain.

    Based on the results of last year England were in a poor state, so to go to the furnace of india and win there shows some strength, NZ would have been another tough tour, with KP getting injured and Swann being out for most games.

    I sppose it depends on how you define strength.

  • on August 14, 2013, 7:06 GMT

    cook is not strong captain at all.no strong captain ever puts defensive dield in 4th day of a low sxoring game especially when he leads the series 2-0 and cannot lose the series. he is a timid and extra cautious captain.dhoni and clarke are only attack minded international captains.

  • Nutcutlet on August 14, 2013, 6:48 GMT

    @ landl47 on (August 14, 2013, 1:11 GMT) @ YorkshirePudding on (August 13, 2013, 19:17 GMT). I hear what you're chorusing: that Cook's consultative style is to his credit; I cannot disagree (see my previous post: re democratic). My quibble was a small one -- Flower calls Cook a "strong" captain; it just didn't seem to me to be quite the right word. Jardine, from reports (!) was a strong captain, with a contempt for what others may have thought about his style of doing things. He indeed was an autocrat, telling Larwood & Voce precisely what he wanted from them. Jardine was also immensely loyal to his players, a trait that Cook shares, expressed in a manner that is acceptable to our age. Frank Worrell was another strong captain, because he had to get his players to sink their deep inter-island rivalries to build the first world class WI team. Cook is not DJ or FW. What, then, is the characteristic which demonstrates Cook's strength, specifically? That's what I want to know/ understand.

  • first_slip on August 14, 2013, 5:43 GMT

    Cook is Ultra defensive captain, and he was luckey to win this Ashes

  • on August 14, 2013, 2:19 GMT

    Every captain is good when teams are winning. Actual leadership is accessed only when u r losing and how u tackle

  • cricmatters on August 14, 2013, 2:18 GMT

    The first hallmark of a good leader is that he should pull his own weight on the ground. It is hard to demand others to go that extra yard when you are not contributing enough as a player. Both Cook and Clarke are doing well on this count however the basic difference between them is that while Cook is easy to get along and is well liked by his team, Clarke has few fences to mend. Cook inherited a fractured team with big names like KP, Swann, Andeson etc. and somehow gelled them together to put on a winning show. Clarke should have held on to Simon Katich, Anderw Symonds and now Shane Watson in spite of personal differences because they are proven match winners. Michael Hussey in the middle order would have invaluable, not sure why the board didn't try hard to retain him. Even Brad Hodge should have been considered as Rogers proved that age is just a number and should not be held against you as long as you perform. Australia need to regroup and learn from this experience.

  • landl47 on August 14, 2013, 1:11 GMT

    Although it's easy to say that Cook inherited a winning team, in 2012 before Cook became captain England were 3-6. They'd lost to SA, which was fair enough, but being swept by Pakistan definitely was not. A drawn series with Sri Lanka was also a poor result.

    Since then, Cook has captained England against the current #2 and #4 sides in the world and beaten both of them. A drawn series in New Zealand wasn't a great result, but NZ played excellent cricket. Back in England NZ couldn't sustain their form and England won easily.

    @nutcutlet, a strong leader realizes that other points of view are valuable, both for insight and to keep others motivated by involving them. Not consulting others because you think it makes you look weak is itself a weakness. As long as Cook is clear that the final decision is his, bringing others into the process will make the team stronger.

    @2MikeGattings: I'm old enough to remember Benaud and he is one of the best captains I ever saw.

  • 512fm on August 14, 2013, 0:56 GMT

    Can people stop using team success to justify who is a good captain or not. You give Cook the aussie team to captain and without a doubt its still 3-0.

  • on August 13, 2013, 22:51 GMT

    Warne and Chappell just look foolish (and bitter) criticising a captain who's team is unbeaten in 12 tests, especially when their own captain has just lost 7 out of 8.

  • on August 13, 2013, 21:37 GMT

    I'm getting bored by Warne's comments on anything that moves and some things that don't. It's got to the point where I assume that anything he says is 'kidology', which, at least some of the time, means he's just lying and saying things he does''t believe, in an attempt to aggravate England. If he said a bit less, I'd be inclined to believe him a bit more.

  • YorkshirePudding on August 13, 2013, 19:17 GMT

    @Nutcutlet, Surely getting advice on DRS from the Keeper is a must especially in regards to LBW and caught behinds. also the keeper will sometimes see something that may help set a field, I seem to remember Gilchrist was consulted by captains about fields. KP being a senior member would have ideas, and its a way of getting him involved in the middle.

    You would also discuss a field with bowlers as they know what their plans are for the over.

    In terms of defensive, I dont see what the problem is with being defensive sometimes you can be too attacking, cook seems to have a good balance, like Monday evening, he could quite easily have refused to bowl root and gone back the following day to complete the innings, but what was the point.

  • jokerbala on August 13, 2013, 19:04 GMT

    Chappelli and Warne are both old school in their thought process and cannot fathom new ideas that are introduced. You can keep shouting Wickets Wickets Wickets at the top of your voice but sorry , If you don't have the bowling to back it up you end up looking like a fool.It is better to go for a pragmatic approach a la Dhoni where you stifle batsmen , stop the boundaries and get their wickets (if you can)when you have a mediocre bowling attack like India, though I am not suggesting that Cook do the same with England's good bowling attack.There are different methods which work for different people , no point in being dogmatic about it.

  • on August 13, 2013, 18:53 GMT

    From a tactical standpoint I think Clarke is a better captain. He is more proactive in the field and doesn't wait for things to happen, although at times he does take that a little too far, bordering on impatient. Cook is much more conservative with bowling changes and field settings. But when it comes to man management I think Cook is definitely much better than Clarke. Even if you ignore the saga with Katich, Clarke also seems to have problems managing players such as Watson and Warner. For example there is no way Watson could keep wasting reviews on his lbws if Clarke could manage him properly.

  • on August 13, 2013, 18:24 GMT

    Whilst I agree that England have underperformed, I imagine that there's a certain amount of bitterness from Warne, as he wasn't made captain of Australia due to his constant off-field indiscretions. As a player, he was with few peers which I doubt anyone would try to argue. But as a person, I think he should take a long hard look at himself.

    Cook has performed well, in his captaincy and I believe he will continue to perform well as he seems to be possessed of intuition and intellect. Obviously, there is room for improvement which will undoubtedly come. With the bat, his form isn't anywhere near his best but he's had slumps before and came back strongly from those.

    I think the understanding between coach and captain, as well as the respect and backing of the players have made this England team more than the sum of it's parts. I believe they'll continue to improve with Cook as the brain, Prior as the heart, KP as the muscle and guys like Bell and Swann as the spine.

  • Nutcutlet on August 13, 2013, 18:18 GMT

    @ Jonathan Jono Lane on (August 13, 2013, 14:14 GMT) agreed in every detail. Re: Cook's captaincy, Flower says he's *strong*, a slightly odd word to use, I thought, when there are a number of other words that can be used to describe a mode of captaincy. Did he mean assertive, or inventive, for instance? If he did, then I beg to differ. To me, he comes across as democratic, as nearly every decision seems to be based on some sort of consensus. He will always have a huddle with him before setting a field. Prior & KP are frequently consulted, or offer ideas anyway. Consultation can be a strength, but it doesn't mark out the independent (strong) thinker. Bringing on Bresnan looked to be a good move, but it was hardly plucked from the blue: changing bowling is often a wicket-taking strategy. Incidentally, TB is a vital cog in Cook's captaincy as he can bowl dry, which, as you say, is a tactic that Cook is very comfortable with. One day, he'll have to go for wickets & risk giving away runs.

  • cloudmess on August 13, 2013, 18:07 GMT

    The criticism of Cook by both Chappell and Warne raises the question of what defines a good captain. You can be an attacking, positive, aggressive captain, and yet still make poor decisions. You can be innovative, always looking to try something different, and yet have little sense of when best to do this. You can be showy in encouraging and geeing up your players on the field, and yet be a poor man-manager. Much as Chappelli and Warnie know a thing or two about proactive captaincy, they should be careful about criticising others with a different approach. Clarke may do all the right things on the field, but his recent record (7 losses in 8) would be enough to get many a captain fired - moreover his side keep losing the critical, pressure moments in each game. If Clarke's batting was like his captaincy, he'd be the beautiful stroke-maker who always got out for 20; Cook, by contrast, has never cared a jot for appearances - either as a batsman or as captain.

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on August 13, 2013, 16:41 GMT

    Even though his top order hasn't fired this series, Cook has visibly got the best of the rest, especially his bowlers. You could tell it by what he said to Broad at the tea break on the 4th day. He gave them calm, assured advice. Clarke has been out-captained by Cook, we can all see that. But Clarke also has not got the best out of his players, even if they aren't actually as good as England's. Australia need a strong leader of men. Cook faces the first ball of the innings, every innings. In England that's one heck of a difficult job. Australia need a leader of this caliber. They may be searching a very long time.

  • Surajrises on August 13, 2013, 16:41 GMT

    @Jonathan Jono Lane I totally agree with you mate. The defensive captaincy by Cook is working for him right now because he hasn't faced a strong team yet. That is obviously a chink in his armor. I believe he will win in South Africa because the Proteas aren't looking that strong right now. I know I shouldn't go by the results of what happened to them in Sri Lanka and they will be playing Eng in their home conditions but I still think Cook, KP, Bell & Trott would step up in those conditions. Eng look favorites to win against the Proteas for at least now. But if De Villiers and his team can plan to play absolutely aggressive Cricket in front of Cook's defensive Captaincy, then Cook might start facing the results of what Tendulkar faced as a Defensive Captain. You can't be successful always being defensive. At some point of time your bowlers are gonna go out of form and at that time if a Captain decides to become defensive then its game over. Cook might also win the Ashes in Australia.

  • avinashpawan on August 13, 2013, 16:22 GMT

    cook's coolness as captain is a trademark of his calm batting.But still he has a long way to go. And most importantly he has to show that he can handle pressure of captaincy and good form with bat at same time. His form is not up to the level it used to be in this ashes.

  • 2MikeGattings on August 13, 2013, 16:17 GMT

    It's easy to captain a winning team, but Cook has certainly done a lot of things right. Part of the point of him coming back into the 50 over side was surely to speed up his progress and get him thinking more flexibly.

    There has been very strong continuity with the way Strauss did things. Strauss was a good man manager, but defensive and conservative in the field. The criticism of his captaincy was very much muted after he had won the Ashes home and away.

    Warne is entitled to his opinions. We certainly hear a lot of them. Give me Benaud any day. He says more in fewer words, and with better spelling.

  • on August 13, 2013, 15:40 GMT

    In all fairness , this English side was far superior to the Australian side in all departments. While the Australian side are in a process of rebuilding from scratch with changes in every department including the captaincy, the English Side has had a more accomplished setup. Cook's captaincy wasn't tested to maximum extent by any means, but however he did most of the little things right. Down-Under will be a bigger and harder test against a wounded Australian side.

  • on August 13, 2013, 15:33 GMT

    So, according to Shane Warne, "Cook is having a horror with his captaincy in the last two Tests..." Well, as Cook is now 3-0 up with one to play, I can only assume the word "horror" must mean something different in Australian slang from its conventional English usage.

  • on August 13, 2013, 14:44 GMT

    In my reckoning England batting is brittle. The bowling was also not upto the mark in the last two tests. The Australians tempt them with wide offside balls. All England batsmen fall a prey including KP and Cook. Though Root scored a Century he is also not upto the mark. So is the case with Bairstow. They should bring Compton and play Root at 6 Bairstow making way for the same. They should also groom another 11 players as players like Anderson Swann are getting old. There should always be bench strength as a player can get injured anytime like Harris and Watson. Hope England and Flower will address as it will not be easy to defeat the Aussies on their homegrounds.i

  • CricketMaan on August 13, 2013, 14:33 GMT

    Not too many captains can boast of the record Cook has, 2-1 in India and 3-0 at Home vs Aussies at the very start of his tenure. He now needs to show that he can do it vs Aussies down under and vs Saffas in SA. That will well and truly put him as a Legendar captain if it hasn't already. But as they say 'your as good as your team' He has to make sure right guys come in else he may face the same wrath that Clarke is facing. I recollect how Dhoni was criticized by one and all in those 8-0 drowing, while MSD had to cope up for some decisios made, he hardly had any resource to force a result. Clarke is now in the same league as MSD, 7-0 in the last 8 Tests. Cook is blessed with a very fine set of players and hope it continues, else its only a matter of time when Cook is in Clarke/MSD shoes!!

  • on August 13, 2013, 14:14 GMT

    As an England (and a Flower) supporter, I would agree that England have under performed in the ashes. That they find themselves 3-0 up is really down to Australia's inability to seize opportunities to win. In my humble opinion there are two key reasons why Australia have been in positions to win - firstly five out of England's seven batsmen have failed by their own standards. Secondly, Cook's captaincy has been very defensive, repeatedly preferring to reduce scoring than to seek wickets. England's batting has at times also been overly defensive, preferring occupation over scoring to the point where they looked like rabbits caught in the headlights, helplessly waiting to be run over. I do admire Andy Flower and the way he has developed this side, and I hope that he doesn't really believe that Cook's captaincy has been just fine. This is a key area that should be improved and which would make this side a much more formidable unit.

  • ThyrSaadam on August 13, 2013, 14:06 GMT

    It all looks good when it comes off at the end, and also the results are there to prove. But just looking at his captaincy you just get the feeling Cook waits for things to happen....

  • sachin_vvsfan on August 13, 2013, 13:49 GMT

    In India he led by example. I saw him bat in some extremely tough conditions and this time i expected more from him as he is playing at his home. I am not sure about his over all home record but i think in the recent past his home series record seem to pale in comparison with away series( he got big hundreds in away series in India and Aus).

    This only proves one thing. A captain is as good as the team. If you have some great team members you will succeed even with average tactics and people start calling you great leader . But to me leaders like Stephen Fleming are the best .They always bring out the best with the limited resource they have.

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on August 13, 2013, 13:45 GMT

    Strong leaders get the best out of their players and win cricket matches. Cook is a strong leader. Clarke is clearly not.

  • on August 13, 2013, 13:32 GMT

    This England team is bloody good. irrespective of who said what. Players putting their hands up and performing at keys moments. Be it a Bell or Swan or Borad pr even Kevin for that matter to save the test match. All this and ugliest (best batsman of England) English top 2, and aggressive #7 are not even performing.

  • on August 13, 2013, 13:32 GMT

    This England team is bloody good. irrespective of who said what. Players putting their hands up and performing at keys moments. Be it a Bell or Swan or Borad pr even Kevin for that matter to save the test match. All this and ugliest (best batsman of England) English top 2, and aggressive #7 are not even performing.

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on August 13, 2013, 13:45 GMT

    Strong leaders get the best out of their players and win cricket matches. Cook is a strong leader. Clarke is clearly not.

  • sachin_vvsfan on August 13, 2013, 13:49 GMT

    In India he led by example. I saw him bat in some extremely tough conditions and this time i expected more from him as he is playing at his home. I am not sure about his over all home record but i think in the recent past his home series record seem to pale in comparison with away series( he got big hundreds in away series in India and Aus).

    This only proves one thing. A captain is as good as the team. If you have some great team members you will succeed even with average tactics and people start calling you great leader . But to me leaders like Stephen Fleming are the best .They always bring out the best with the limited resource they have.

  • ThyrSaadam on August 13, 2013, 14:06 GMT

    It all looks good when it comes off at the end, and also the results are there to prove. But just looking at his captaincy you just get the feeling Cook waits for things to happen....

  • on August 13, 2013, 14:14 GMT

    As an England (and a Flower) supporter, I would agree that England have under performed in the ashes. That they find themselves 3-0 up is really down to Australia's inability to seize opportunities to win. In my humble opinion there are two key reasons why Australia have been in positions to win - firstly five out of England's seven batsmen have failed by their own standards. Secondly, Cook's captaincy has been very defensive, repeatedly preferring to reduce scoring than to seek wickets. England's batting has at times also been overly defensive, preferring occupation over scoring to the point where they looked like rabbits caught in the headlights, helplessly waiting to be run over. I do admire Andy Flower and the way he has developed this side, and I hope that he doesn't really believe that Cook's captaincy has been just fine. This is a key area that should be improved and which would make this side a much more formidable unit.

  • CricketMaan on August 13, 2013, 14:33 GMT

    Not too many captains can boast of the record Cook has, 2-1 in India and 3-0 at Home vs Aussies at the very start of his tenure. He now needs to show that he can do it vs Aussies down under and vs Saffas in SA. That will well and truly put him as a Legendar captain if it hasn't already. But as they say 'your as good as your team' He has to make sure right guys come in else he may face the same wrath that Clarke is facing. I recollect how Dhoni was criticized by one and all in those 8-0 drowing, while MSD had to cope up for some decisios made, he hardly had any resource to force a result. Clarke is now in the same league as MSD, 7-0 in the last 8 Tests. Cook is blessed with a very fine set of players and hope it continues, else its only a matter of time when Cook is in Clarke/MSD shoes!!

  • on August 13, 2013, 14:44 GMT

    In my reckoning England batting is brittle. The bowling was also not upto the mark in the last two tests. The Australians tempt them with wide offside balls. All England batsmen fall a prey including KP and Cook. Though Root scored a Century he is also not upto the mark. So is the case with Bairstow. They should bring Compton and play Root at 6 Bairstow making way for the same. They should also groom another 11 players as players like Anderson Swann are getting old. There should always be bench strength as a player can get injured anytime like Harris and Watson. Hope England and Flower will address as it will not be easy to defeat the Aussies on their homegrounds.i

  • on August 13, 2013, 15:33 GMT

    So, according to Shane Warne, "Cook is having a horror with his captaincy in the last two Tests..." Well, as Cook is now 3-0 up with one to play, I can only assume the word "horror" must mean something different in Australian slang from its conventional English usage.

  • on August 13, 2013, 15:40 GMT

    In all fairness , this English side was far superior to the Australian side in all departments. While the Australian side are in a process of rebuilding from scratch with changes in every department including the captaincy, the English Side has had a more accomplished setup. Cook's captaincy wasn't tested to maximum extent by any means, but however he did most of the little things right. Down-Under will be a bigger and harder test against a wounded Australian side.

  • 2MikeGattings on August 13, 2013, 16:17 GMT

    It's easy to captain a winning team, but Cook has certainly done a lot of things right. Part of the point of him coming back into the 50 over side was surely to speed up his progress and get him thinking more flexibly.

    There has been very strong continuity with the way Strauss did things. Strauss was a good man manager, but defensive and conservative in the field. The criticism of his captaincy was very much muted after he had won the Ashes home and away.

    Warne is entitled to his opinions. We certainly hear a lot of them. Give me Benaud any day. He says more in fewer words, and with better spelling.