Home > Features >

India tour of England 2014: Alastair Cook should consider stepping down to rediscover form

Alastair Cook's wretched run now extends for more than a year © Getty Images
Alastair Cook’s wretched run now extends for more than a year © Getty Images

England Test captain Alastair Cook has played 106 matches so far and his batting averages around 45.17. However, the 29-year-old has been going through a rough patch for a very long time. It has been over a year since Cook scored a century. Sudatta Mukherjee wonders whether it is time for the English captain to step aside and work on his batting.

Yet again, Alastair Cook struggled and with the bat. On Friday, on Day Two of the second Test at Lord’s, Cook was dismissed for 10 when Indian seamer Bhuvneshwar Kumar delivered a good length ball, forcing him to fend at the delivery as MS Dhoni tumbled across to take  a smart catch.

Cook’s last century had come in May 2014 against New Zealand, when he had scored 130 at Headingley. He has scored six half-centuries since then, but has been unable to convert them into a big score.

In the last twelve months, Cook has played 13 Tests: these include the home-and-away Ashes contests, the Test series against Sri Lanka and the ongoing five-Test series against India. He averages a mere 23.04 from these Tests with a highest score of 72 against Australia at Perth.

Cook’s captaincy has also come under the scanner from various former cricketers.  Cook has been criticised by former Australian spinner Shane Warne and former England skipper Geoffrey Boycott. Warne called his captaincy ‘boring’, while Boycott said that he “won’t make it as a tactical captain”.

Following the Ashes 2013 Cook hasn’t been able to lead his team to a Test victory, let alone a series win. England had been whitewashed in Australia, beaten by Sri Lanka at home, and Cook was not too imaginative in the first Test at Trent Bridge.

Even on Day One of the second Test at Lord’s, India managed have a good hold on the first session, however, England replied strongly in the second But Cook failed to utilise the advantage, as India once again were led by a strong batting partnership from the lower-order batsmen.

Cook has also been criticised for the way Liam Plunkett has been used in the second Test so far. Boycott was quoted as saying to BBC, “England lost the plot twice — once when Liam Plunkett had to go round the wicket on a pitch which is doing something because they couldn’t get enough balls in good areas to make the batsmen play at the ball. It’s down to the captain and bowler. (Alastair) Cook has to accept some responsibility. He has to say, ‘Hang on, I’m not having that, you’re going to have to bowl better’. He approves of it by allowing it to go on.”

Though Cook has had a good run at the County Championships the previous season, where he had played three matches and averaged around 77.20, if compared to the England’s skipper’s 13 Tests with players who have played more than 10 County matches last year, there are many players who can replace him, while he returns to Essex, gets in shape and returns.

For example, young Zafar Ansari of Surrey has played 12 matches, scored 718 runs including two centuries and four half-centuries with a 100-plus average. James Vince of Hampshire can also feature in the list. The England Under-19 player played 12 matches last season, scored 1,167 runs, which included three centuries and six fifties.

There are also a few experienced cricketers, who have featured in England national squad, who have done considerably well in county, to be considered over Cook’s present national form. England may consider recalling Jonny Bairstow, Eoin Morgan, or even recall Nick Compton.

When Graeme Smith had retired there had been a debate regarding who will lead South Africa in Tests. A similar discussion is due for the English team. The selectors are possibly unable to look beyond Cook to find someone who can lead a young team.

However, Cook’s present form does not inspire much. His captaincy has been much-criticised, and he has not been in great form as a batsman. If Cook, cares much about England’s and his own future, he needs to decide — either to drop himself from the team and work on his overall performance or resign as a captain and concentrate on his batting.

(Sudatta Mukherjee is a reporter with CricketCountry. Other than writing on cricket, she spends penning random thoughts on her blog and produces weekly posts on new food joints at Whopping Weekends. She played Table Tennis for University of Calcutta. When she is not writing, you will catch her at a movie theatre or watching some English serial on her laptop. Her Twitter id is @blackrosegal)

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 20, 2014 (14:30 IST)   at Kolkata

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 21, 2014 (03:00 IST)   at Mount Maunganui

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

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 24, 2014 (03:00 IST)   at Mount Maunganui

More

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

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 11, 2014  at Delhi

India won by 48 runs

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 10, 2014  at Dubai

Australia won by 5 wkts

Photos

India vs West Indies 4th ODI at Dharamsala

Videos

AB de Villiers speaks ahead of New Zealand ODIs

South Africa vs New Zealand 2014: 5 memorable matches

Yasir Shah: The new spinning sensation for Pakistan

Virat Kohli takes wicket with the first (0th?) ball of his T20I career

Kevin Pietersen’s autobiography — a litany of complaints with a few redeeming patches

Banning West Indian players in IPL can affect the ‘Brand value’ of the event – Will BCCI take this gamble?

Australia Australia tour of UAE 2014 BCCI India India vs West Indies India vs West Indies 2014 New Zealand Pakistan Salaam Cricket South Africa West Indies West Indies cancel India tour 2014 West Indies tour of India 2014 West Indies vs India West Indies vs India 2014

IPL success embodies emergence of sports as global industry, says India’s representative at UN

Live Cricket Score: New Zealand vs South Africa, 1st ODI at Mount Maunganui

Live Scorecard: New Zealand vs South Africa, 1st ODI at Mount Maunganui

Kevin Pietersen is probably the best cricketer I have played with: Eoin Morgan

India vs Sri Lanka 2014: SLC defend decision to tour

James Neesham can provide more impetus to New Zealand’s weakened batting up the order

Virender Sehwag turns 36: Five most memorable innings of the Nawab of Najafgarh

New Zealand begin ICC World Cup 2015 preparations with 15 ODIs in store

Virender Sehwag paid birthday tribute to by Sophos Antivirus

South Africa vs New Zealand 2014: 5 memorable matches

Fan of the Day

Gautam Singh

Gautam Singh

474 Posts | 5 Fans

Video Highlights Mohammed Yousuf drops catch after watching a girl in bikini

सेक्स टिप # 13: महिलाओं में कामेच्छा (low libido) की समस्या

आपकी दिवाली खुशनुमा, सुरक्षित और शुभ हो

iOS 8.1 update now available bringing Camera Roll, SMS Relay, iCloud Photo library among others

Movies to watch this week: Happy New Year!

Narendra Modi personified Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva of popularity at Madison Square Garden

IBM to pay $1.5 billion to GlobalFoundries to buy its chip division

Bigg Boss 8 highlights: RJ Pritam solves inmates problems while Ali Quli Mirza creates more on Day 29!

Dasvandh Network’s appeal to help reach goal of $80,000 to help Sikh cause in North America

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here