Ian Baker - Cook should leave captaincy behind
25 Mar 2010 - 06:54:28
England beat Bangladesh 3-0 in the recent One Day International series. They then won 2-0 in the Test series. Alastair Cook's supporters will point to a successful series.
But did anyone expect anything less? Is 5-0 a surprising result in all forms of cricket? No. Sometimes you need to look beyond statistics and Cook as captain showed obvious shortcomings.
In for the rested Andrew Strauss, the Essex left-hander just looked totally out of his depth. He looked lost even under the slightest bit of pressure.
When Bangladesh tail-enders Naeem Islam and Shafiul Islam were smashing Cook's bowlers to all parts on the second morning of the Dhaka Test, England's skipper just did not know what to do.
He shrugged his shoulders, tinkered with a bizarre field with no third man and a gap between the slips and gully and did little to inspire confidence.
It looked as if England had no captain on the field. Matt Prior was trying his best to rally the troops while senior players Paul Collingwood and Kevin Pietersen did little to help their more higher ranked but less experienced leader.
I've already talked about his first Test failings - not enforcing the follow-on with a lead of over 300 and doubts over his team selection. In addition, he has hardly led by example in the field dropping three catches in the Dhaka Test.
And even Cook has admitted his shortcomings. He reckons he does not have a presence in the dressing room and needs to work on that.
He also confessed to Mike Atherton at the post-match presentation ceremony: "Straussy's our captain and I can't wait for him to come back."
Away from captaincy Cook is flourishing though. His two centuries in Bangladesh were probably his most fluent ever - and the cover drive which was missing from his game has returned. He looks every inch the complete batsmen, and Australia should be mightily worried that he has worked so hard to correct his failings.
I doubt he'll ever become an able replacement for Strauss and England clearly need an alternative choice based on the tour Cook has had.
Captain no. But Cook can look at his personal form over the last six months with real pride. And he can still become one of England's greats.
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