The England team is like a political party heading into an election with a leader who, in an ideal world, would not be their leader. But the Ashes are almost upon us and it is too late now to arrange a mutiny. The commemorative programmes are printed, the supermarket adverts are in the can and Alastair Cook is (still) the England captain.

People who know about this sort of thing say that as a leader Alastair is some miles south of adequate; that he's two slips short of a full cordon; that he brings to the job the strategic perceptiveness of George W Bush, the spontaneity of a stapler, and the man-management skills of a well-dressed shop dummy.

They may be right. I'm in no position to judge. I've never captained anything. When I named myself in an MCC XI to take on an intergalactic touring side, I refused the captaincy as I was worried that the pressure of leadership would affect my dice-throwing form.

So I will have to take other people's word for it that Alastair is a duffer as a leader of men. Besides, for the purposes of this blog, it doesn't really matter. It isn't his dodgy captaincy with which I have a problem; it's his batting that makes me want to cry.

"Oh no," you're thinking, "Not another anti-Alastair Cook article. Is this going to turn into one of those unfair diatribes against a placid and talented young man who has risen to the top of his profession, and who, through no fault of his own, has found himself the centre of attention at a time of turmoil for English cricket?"

Well, yes, as it happens. But this isn't personal. This is not about Alastair Cook the human being. I've never met him, but he seems like a good egg, the sort of chap who would gladly help someone look for their missing thumb or guide a flock of elderly sheep across a busy road. No, my problem is with the performer who appears on my television screen, with the semi-fictitious character known as Alastair Cook, who has been cast in one of cricket theatre's greatest roles: the senior England opener.

There have been dozens of interpretations of this role, from Michael Atherton's lugubrious Hamlet, to Graham Gooch's impression of John Wayne playing Caesar, to Geoffrey Boycott's short-sighted King Lear. But there have been few in my lifetime as uninspiring and joyless as Alastair's minimalist accumulatory method.

"Hang on a minute," you might object, "Hasn't he just reached a massively monumental milestone? Hasn't he gathered more runs than any other England batsman ever in the history of everything, and doesn't that mean that he is entitled to our admiration?"

Well, perhaps if you are related to Alastair, or if you know him in your capacity as a journalist in search of a quote, or if you are motivated to watch cricket solely by a desire to see England win, or if you belong to that most disturbing of niche internet collectives, the Alastair Cook Fan Club, then yes. But for the rest us, the answer is no.

I've never met him, but he seems like a good egg, the sort of chap who would gladly help someone look for their missing thumb or guide a flock of elderly sheep across a busy road

You can appreciate his achievements, just as you can admire the work of Stephen in Finance who single-handedly audited the company accounts from 2011 to 2014. But I don't want to watch Stephen fiddling with his spreadsheets and I don't want to watch Alastair bat.

I read recently, on this site, that Alastair's strength is that he systematically blunts opposing bowling attacks. That's his thing. He doesn't swashbuckle, marmalise or decimate. He blunts. He's a blunter, a road block. He's the kind of person who will opt for rock over paper or scissors 27 times in a row. He is the steady incline that saps the energy of the marathon runner, the gladiator who hides behind his enormous shield until his opponent just gives up and keels over.

Seeing Alastair Cook's name on the scorecard is like noticing the words "Vince" and "Vaughn" on the poster for a film you are about to see - it produces a sinking feeling in your stomach and the urge to expel a deep sigh from the depths of your being.

Actually, he's more of a Tom Cruise figure: very successful, been around for ever, yet oddly bland. The only good thing about Alastair Cook the batsman is that he's pretty, but since he's always wearing a helmet at the crease, you can't even derive that small aesthetic compensation from the experience of watching him do his thing.

Test cricket's default setting is cautious blocking, and at various times in the sport's history, it has been in danger of suffocating under the weight of mountains of risk-free runs. Just because a more adventurous style has prevailed in the last 25 years, that doesn't mean we should relax our vigilance. So no matter how many runs Alastair harvests with his flourish-free, batting-with-the-safety-catch-on style, in the Hughes household he will always be regarded with deep suspicion as a chisel-jawed, 21st century Chris Tavaré; a prodigious leaver of the ball, sent by the forces of darkness to destroy cricket with a sheepish grin and an insatiable appetite for boring runs.

Andrew Hughes is a writer currently based in England. @hughandrews73