Not seeing any improvement in his game: Gooch on Cook
Alastair Cook came up with yet another underwhelming performance (Getty Images)

With each innings, Alastair Cook seems to be gaining new doubters. Despite consistent backing from his captain Joe Root and former England cricketers, there continue to be those who are concerned about the way the former England captain has been batting. Graham Gooch, whose record Cook surpassed to become the highest run-scorer for England in Tests is the latest to voice his concern about the England opener.

Speaking on the Today show on BBC Radio 4, Gooch, a long-time mentor to Cook, pointed out that he hasn’t seen any improvement in the former England captain’s game and that the batsman is “flatlining”.

“My concern watching him is that I don’t see any improvement in his game,” Gooch said. “I think he is flatlining a little bit. When you are a cricketer, as a batsman you always need to improve yourself, need to look for new things to drive your forward.”

With 97 runs in six innings, Cook has been one of England’s major disappointments in the series, along with the rest of the top order. Prior to the start of the fourth Test at Southampton, Cook had scored 80 and his average read a poor 19 this year.

In 2018, Cook has scored just one half-century in 14 innings resulting in question marks over his longevity. He scored a magnificent double hundred against Australia in the boxing day Test at Melbourne in 2017 which helped England draw their only game in the last Ashes series which they lost 0-4. But barring that, there’s hasn’t been anything remotely noteworthy.

There was a belief that Cook might be able to rediscover his lost form against India at the Ageas Bowl, the same venue where he resurrected his flickering career with scores of 95 and 70 four years ago against the same opponent. And while he did the hard work and played out 54 balls, it was almost as if the left-hander gifted his wicket when he late cut a delivery from Hardik Pandya to Virat Kohli and third slip.

“I don’t know how he’s practicing, I don’t know what he’s doing away from the game, but I’m really concerned when I see him play because he makes similar mistakes and even at 33, 34, there is room to improve yourself,” Gooch said.

Cook also scored 243 against West Indies at home in the last season but his performances have dried up considerably over longer periods. He has not even been able to get into the 30 in the current Test series with a string of low scores such as 13, 0, 21, 29, 17 and 17.