January 30, 2014
Cook who will be looking forward to a break from Test cricket in the coming weeks and months but will still have some tough decisions to make. Some will say Cook should step down as England captain in all forms, others will say he should stay on and continue to lead English cricket from the front which he has done with great success since taking over from Andrew Strauss
The camp that say Cook should move aside is an interesting one. On face value they’d be right to say he should step down after what was a mauling by Michael Clarkes men in the Test Series closely followed by defeat in the one day series.
Putting aside for a minute Cooks tactical nous or ability to score big runs, that’s a small if not irrelevant part of the puzzle if you don’t have your senior playing group all working with you and heading in the same direction
That group hugely underperformed and some would say they didn’t turn up. The reason for this could be the determining factor to whether Cook remains as England’s leader. Was it bad leadership that lead to what we saw take place or are there other factors that took place.
It’s hard to believe that a lack of leadership resulted in what happened this winter after seeing what those same players have achieved as individuals and as a team under Cook in the last few years. Key players (some the very best in the world) showed an inability to cope with what Australia threw at them and whilst giving Australia some credit you’d question why those players were left with no answers
As the ODI series arrived things weren’t made any easier, with key players missing you might again question that leadership group continued to let Cook down. Opportunities were given to talented young cricketers like Chris Jordon and Ben Stokes to come in and make an impression – which they did. Whether the ECB had one eye on the World Cup or not the questions again would be asked about where that senior playing group were when things were tough?
There is a fair case to say Alastair Cook was left holding the baby in Australia, he could have been a tactical genius, outperformed all as an individual during the tour and the result would have been similar. Cook would have been as fatigued if not more so than anyone on that tour, yet he continued to do his job to the best of his ability whilst key players went missing and later on the tour enjoyed a ‘well deserved’ rest