Home > News >

Duncan Fletcher backs Alastair Cook to come good

Duncan Fletcher was the coach of England from 2000 to 2007 © Getty Images
Duncan Fletcher was the coach of England from 2000 to 2007 © Getty Images

By Robert Leslie

Leicester: Jun 26, 2014

The man who was coach when Alastair Cook made his England debut has no doubt the opener will overcome his struggles with the bat and on the field to enjoy fresh success as as Test captain.

Duncan Fletcher was England coach when the then 21-year-old Cook was flown halfway round the world from an A tour in the Caribbean to open the innings in his maiden Test against India in Nagpur.

The Essex left-hander responded with a second-innings century, the first of his England record 25 Test hundreds.

However, Cook has not scored a Test ton for 24 innings, a sequence that now extends to more than a year, and found both his technique and tactics under scrutiny as England succumbed to a 100-run defeat by Sri Lanka in the second Test at Headingley on Tuesday — a result that gave the tourists a 1-0 win in a two-match series.

The Sri Lanka reverse followed a 5-0 Ashes thrashing in Australia under Cook’s leadership and led to fresh questions about his suitability as captain.

But Fletcher, now in charge of India — England’s next opponents in a five-Test series that starts at Nottingham’s Trent Bridge ground on July 9 — compared Cook’s position to that of former Australia captain Mark Taylor, who went through a lean time with the bat before re-asserting himself.

Fletcher, a former Zimbabwe captain, recalled his initial impression of Cook as he spoke Wednesday on the eve of India’s opening three-day tour game against Leicestershire at Grace Road.

“There were two things that struck me,” he said. “Firstly, I thought he was a very intelligent cricketer who understood the game.

“I remember talking in one of the very first team meetings he came to — he’d just been flown across from the West Indies — and we asked about someone, and he quite confidently stood up and said ‘this player does this, and this player does that’.

“There are very few players prepared to commit to something like that at such an early stage in the England squad.”

- ‘Determined individual’ -

Fletcher added: “The next thing was that I think he’s a very determined individual. He’s very, very determined — which I think most opening bats have to be.”

Meanwhile Fletcher urged England to stick with Cook, citing how Australia ultimately gained from doing just that when Taylor, also a left-handed opening batsman, was struggling for runs in the early 1990s after a prolific spell.

“For however long he [Cook] has struggled, give me one player who hasn’t been through that period for that length of time,” Fletcher said.

“I remember Mark Taylor. How long did he not get a run for? Australia kept him on as captain.

“He went through a big period where he didn’t get any — and they kept him.”

Both England and India are in the process of rebuilding their respective teams.

India have won a Test series in England on just three occasions — 1971, 1986 and 2007 — but, on the basis of their hosts’ recent form, this upcoming campaign could represent an ideal chance to add to that list.

However, India captain MS Dhoni, one of just three players in an 18-man squad to have previously played a Test in England, said: “I still think England are a fantastic side.

“That means it will be a tough competition for us, and they know the home conditions better than us.”

 

India tour of England 2014

Jul 27, 2014 (15:30 IST)   at Southampton

Pakistan tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Aug 6, 2014 (10:00 IST)   at Galle

India tour of England 2014

Aug 7, 2014 (15:30 IST)   at Manchester

South Africa in Zimbabwe, 2014

Aug 9, 2014 (13:30 IST)   at Harare

Pakistan tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Aug 14, 2014 (10:00 IST)   at Colombo

More

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 24, 2014  at Bulawayo

Afghanistan won by 100 runs

South Africa tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Jul 24, 2014  at Colombo

Match drawn

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 22, 2014  at Bulawayo

Afghanistan won by 2 wkts

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 20, 2014  at Bulawayo

Zimbabwe won by 8 wkts

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 18, 2014  at Bulawayo

Zimbabwe won by 6 wkts

Photos

India vs England 2014, 3rd Test

Videos

Highlights of Phil Hughes' double ton

India vs England Live Cricket Score 3rd Test Day 5 at Southampton

Moeen Ali spins India into trouble: Will he stun them again on Day 5 at Southampton?

Jacques Kallis retires from international cricket: How an Indian fan remembers the South African legend

Jacques Kallis retires from international cricket: A symbol of genius encompassing almost two decades

Jacques Kallis retires from international cricket: Long live the King

Alastair Cook England England vs India England vs India 2014 India India tour of England 2014 India vs England India vs England 2014 South Africa South Africa tour of Sri Lanka 2014 South Africa vs Sri Lanka 2014 Sri Lanka Sri Lanka vs South Africa Sri Lanka vs South Africa 2014

Watch Free Live Streaming Online: England vs India, 3rd Test, Day 5 at Southampton

Live Scorecard: India vs England, 3rd Test, Day 5 at Southampton

Manoj Tiwary, Ambati Rayudu star in India A’s 5-wicket win over Australia A

India vs England 2014, Day 5, 3rd Test: Can weather save the visitors?

Graeme Smith: Great to see Proteas back as No 1 Test team

Moeen Ali spins India into trouble: Will he stun them again on Day 5 at Southampton?

Jacques Kallis retires from international cricket: How an Indian fan remembers the South African legend

A Harry Potter XI

India vs England 2014, 3rd Test at Southampton: India’s lacklustre performance, Moeen Ali’s rise as a spinner and other highlights of play on Day 4

Jacques Kallis retires from international cricket: A symbol of genius encompassing almost two decades

Fan of the Day

Fan Cricket

Fan Cricket

11 Posts | 2 Fans

Brazil vs Netherlands, 3rd place Fifa World Cup 2014 match Video Highlights

Live Scorecard: India vs England, 3rd Test, Day 5 at Southampton

Toll in Tehri cloudburst rises to five

Rafael to miss rest of Man Utd’s tour of the USA with groin injury

Sussanne Khan looking for a new house again?

Pune landslide: Rajnath assures full central assistance

Dia Mirza to get married on October 18 in Delhi!

Humaima Malick proud of passionate kissing scenes in ‘Raja Natwarlal’

After Siddharth Shukla and Gurmeet Choudhary,Karan V Grover to make a Bollywood debut!

HTC One (M8) Windows Phone variant could be launched on August 19

Manoj Tiwary, Ambati Rayudu star in India A’s 5-wicket win over Australia A

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here