Home > Features >

England vs Sri Lanka 2014: Defeat in home series a major setback for Alastair Cook

England captain Alastair Cook after losing the 2nd Investec Test match between England
A despondent Alastair Cook ponders on yet another setback as captain © Getty Images

England began their rebuilding process in Test cricket with the two-match Test series against Sri Lanka, but to start that with a loss is never a great sign. Moreover, it would hurt the English cricket and skipper Alastair Cook more as the defeat has come at home, in their own territory. As things stand today, it looks like there could be more trouble in store, feels Devarchit Varma.

Just before the start of the second and decisive Test match against Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook finally gave in and admitted that the repetitive attacks by Shane Warne is not helping things one bit. Cook said in an interview to the BBC, “Something needs to be done.”

Surely the captain’s words sent out the message that he is certainly not in the right frame of mind a captain should be. He is clearly troubled. He is perturbed with whatever that is being said about his captaincy. Cook had entered the Test with a lot of burden on his shoulders, but the way he put forward the discomfort that he has had with Warne’s persisting criticism also proved that his mind is elsewhere. Cook is concentrating on the negatives. His energy is getting drained on something that he doesn’t control.

England’s shambolic run in Test cricket continues with an embarrassing defeat to Sri Lanka in the second Test at Headingley, and with an all-important five-Test series against India impending, they have a huge task in hand. Not only they have to get their house in order to prepare for an Indian side that is completely different from the one that toured in 2011, but they have their main man — the captain — struggling.

If Cook wouldn’t have been the captain, England might as well have sent him back to County cricket to get some much-needed runs and confidence. But that isn’t an option here. In fact, Cook, who was the first to put his hands up to lead England’s rebuilding process, is the best man to be the captain of the side. England need nothing else but a happy and determined Cook — someone the world saw during the Ashes 2010-11 Down Under.

One may not believe it, but a major chunk of England’s worries lie in Cook. He has not changed his captaincy skills; neither is he trying out different things that could work for his side. Infusing new talent in the side under the umbrella of rebuilding is not the only thing, but there always has to be someone to guide them. Moeen Ali, a regular top-order batsman who unfortunately was England’s specialist spinner in the second Test against the players who are excellent against spin, kept on waiting for his chance to bowl on the fourth day when a determined pair of Angelo Mathews and Rangana Herath defied England’s bowling machinery.

The decision to not give the ball to Ali was a mistake, as the right-arm tweaker produced more opportunities than some of the top-notch England pacers produced. Certainly, Cook was wrong this time. And it was in Ali’s over only that Sri Lanka lost a wicket, albeit because of a run-out which could have been avoided.

Cook certainly needs to change the way he approach England’s captaincy. While his side failed to maintain the pressure built by James Anderson and Liam Plunkett at the start of the fourth day, the way some of the Decision Review System (DRS) calls were taken do not speak well about Cook’s leadership. The decision to hold back Ali was erroneous, so was to keep going for those frontline pacers who had thrown everything they had in their arsenal to get rid of the flourishing stand between Mathews and Herath.

England have lost a Test at home despite taking a first-innings lead of more than 100 runs. Their captain and batting mainstay Cook hasn’t scored enough runs in last couple of Test matches and he is struggling on the captaincy front as well. Despite a brilliant effort by Moeen Ali on the final day, England failed to save the Test and the series. This loss to Sri Lanka will surely be a nightmare, a major setback to England and Cook.

(Devarchit Varma is a reporter with CricketCountry. He can be followed on Twitter @Devarchit)

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 20, 2014 (14:30 IST)   at Kolkata

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 22, 2014 (11:30 IST)   at Dubai

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 22, 2014 (19:00 IST)   at Cuttack

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Oct 25, 2014 (09:30 IST)   at Dhaka

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 27, 2014 (03:00 IST)   at Hamilton

More

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 24, 2014  at Mount Maunganui

South Africa won by 72 runs

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 21, 2014  at Mount Maunganui

South Africa won by 6 wkts

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 17, 2014  at Dharamsala

India won by 59 runs

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 14, 2014  at Visakhapatnam

Match cancelled

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 12, 2014  at Abu Dhabi

Australia won by 1 run

Photos

Pakistan vs Australia, 1st Test at Dubai

Videos

AB de Villiers praises team after win in 1st ODI

Pakistan hold advantage at stumps on Day 3 of 1st Test against Australia

Asad Shafiq emerges as dependable No 6 for Pakistan

Pakistan vs Australia 2014: Mitchell Johnson shows signs of effectiveness on unhelpful surfaces

South Africa vs New Zealand 2014: Vital for Brendon McCullum to find form quickly

Australia Australia tour of UAE 2014 Australia vs Pakistan Australia vs Pakistan 2014 Duleep Trophy India New Zealand New Zealand vs South Africa New Zealand vs South Africa 2014 Pakistan Pakistan vs Australia Pakistan vs Australia 2014 South Africa South Africa tour of New Zealand 2014 South Africa vs New Zealand South Africa vs New Zealand 2014

Duleep Trophy 2014: Central Zone lead by 81 runs as North Zone bowled out for 457

Laxmi Ratan Shukla to lead Bengal in upcoming One-Day series

David Warner feels lucky to have equalled Don Bradman’s record

Kapil Dev’s Dev Musco Lighting accused of inflated costs by GCA

VVS Laxman advises budding batsmen to score big hundreds

Pakistan vs Australia 2014: Spin hunt continues for visitors

Sarfaraz Ahmed may have trumped the Akmals as Pakistan’s wicketkeeper-batsman across formats

Don Bradman — even if every chance he ever gave in his career was accepted, he would still remain head and shoulders above the others

Len Hutton’s hundred gets reported as illness

Viv Richards’ 6/41 bowls West Indies to a thrilling victory over India

Fan of the Day

Suraj Gowda

Suraj Gowda

642 Posts | 9 Fans

Virat Kohli's Family Meets Anushka Sharma

Top Sex Positions: Frog Princess

NGOs pursue education for all

Google partners Oxford University to teach machines to think

Nokia turnaround since handset unit sale continues, reports $950 million Q3 net profit

Duleep Trophy 2014: Central Zone lead by 81 runs as North Zone bowled out for 457

Farah Khan’s ‘Happy New Year’ is the Typical Over the top Masala and Action

International programme in Animal Husbandry

BREAKING NEWS: Fire on the sets of Yeh Hai Mohabbatein and Kumkum Bhagya

Pakistan vs Australia 2014: David Warner century goes vain as Pakistan lead by 151 at day 3 close

Pavitra Rishta to air its final episode tomorrow

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here