Kevin Pietersen, Graeme Swann better choices as England captain in Test cricket: Shane Warne

Kevin Pietersen (above) has got a good cricketing brain, feels Shane Warne © Getty Images

Nov 8, 2013

Shane Warne has continued his scathing attack on Alastair Cook, saying that Kevin Pietersen and Graeme Swann are better choices to lead England in case they want to become world No 1.

Warne told Daily Telegraph, “I honestly believe that Cook has to improve tactically if England are to become the No 1 team in the world again, and I do not think too many people would disagree with me.

“I am also speaking from the experience of playing under some great captains — and some who were not so great. If you look at the leaders Australia had when we did well and when we struggled, it generally reflected the standard of the captains.”

He continued, “If I had to choose a captain out of the England side it would be Kevin Pietersen or Graeme Swann. That may sound like an unbelievable thing to say after all the controversy of last year but I think KP has the best cricket brain in the team.

Warne, who termed Cook as ‘boring, negative and unimaginative’ as captain a few days ago, praised Swann’s leadership skills and said he is a good reader of the game.

“Graeme Swann is good too, as we have seen from his Twenty20 captaincy of England. They are both imaginative, good readers of the game and take the aggressive option first, whereas Cook retreats too quickly. He goes very defensive when he should be stamping his authority on the match,” Warne said.

However, Warne conceded that considering Cook’s great record as a Test captain, his comments earlier on him were perhaps too harsh. He said, “That is a pretty good record. But my point is that if you want to be the best team in the world, which England aspire to be, then you have to have more aggression from the leader.

“I played for 15 years in one of the best teams of all time, winning in all conditions against all opposition. We had some great players, sure, but we also needed a good captain with imagination.

“You cannot just let the game drift and come to you. You may win more than you lose that way because you have quality bowlers but to be the best over a long period of time, you have to have a proactive leader,” Warne explained.

“If England want to be ranked second or third, winning more series than they lose, then fine, but it will not be enough to make them the best team of their generation which is the ambition we hear from the England players,” he continued.

Warne concluded by saying that aggressive leadership skills take teams to a different level.

“If you put Mark Taylor, Michael Clarke or Stephen Fleming in charge of that team you would see a completely different style of play; aggression combined with imaginative fields that would produce very entertaining cricket which is great to watch. It would also be the style of cricket that would possibly take England to No.1 in the world,” he concluded.