Cook should stay – for now

Alastair Cook and England’s misery continued on Sunday when they went down to their Seventh defeat in Nine tests, prolonging their winless streak to 10 matches. It has been a truly sorry last nine o’r ten months for Cook and Co: a 5-0 drubbing in Australia, a 1-0 series defeat to Sri Lanka, and this latest defeat to an Indian side who picked up their first overseas win since 2011.


On top of his team’s wretched run, the Essex man is in dreadful nick: without a century in 27 tests and currently averaging only 12 in the series, Cook is severely under the pump. After England’s latest humbling the knives have been well and truly out with figures such as Michael Vaughan, Alec Stewart, Michael Atherton and Geoffrey Boycott calling for the 29 year-old to be replaced.

Ex-skipper Vaughan has voiced concerns that if not replaced and given a break Cook could suffer from burn-out and his long-term England career jeopardised. The Yorkshireman made the point that Cook had played Test cricket for eight years non-stop and that he desperately needed a break. While other ex-players such as Graeme Swann, Phil Tufnell and Jonathan Agnew believe that he should continue, with Swann praising his former team mate’s mental ‘steel’.

Cook for his part has stated that he will not resign and will only go if asked to do so by the selectors o’r if his position becomes ‘untenable’. In an interview with the Daily Express he said “Until somebody taps you onthe shoulder and says ‘we don’t want you to be captain’ or ‘we think there is a better man’, or my position becomes untenable, I want to be carrying on”.

Quitting mid-series would be the wrong things to do in the eyes of England’s fifth highest run scorer.

“If I’m not scoring runs  by the end of the series, and we’re losing more games…then I’m clearly maybe not the man”, he added.

“But I’ve been speaking to Mooresy over the last couple of days, and we still think we can turn this round”.

You have to admire Cook’s determination and never say die attitude but should he still be there?

In my opinion-yes, but with a caveat.

Due to the paucity of other candidates I feel that Cook should be given until the end of the series to try and turn things around. If he doesn’t then he should be replaced and given the winter off to rest and re-charge his batteries. After 8 years of non-stop international cricket where he hasn’t missed a test, he desperately needs a rest.

The England selectors have their hands tied in many ways: they don’t have another suitable candidate waiting in the wings. Ian Bell would be a good shout If he wasn’t in such wretched form: the experienced 32 year-old having captained Warwickshire with some success in the past. But on current form Bell is fighting to keep his place in the team having only made 4 half-centuries in his last 19 innings.

James Anderson is not a viable option either as the Lancashire paceman is already overloaded with bowling duties and has recently been charged by the ICC for an alleged altercation with India’s Ravindra Jadeja, which could land him a 4 test ban. While Stuart Broad is also a no-no due to his bowling responsibilities and need for an operation on a niggling knee injury.

Joe Root at only 23 and with only 19 tests under his belt is too inexperienced for the role but is seen as a future England captain and Matt Prior announced this week that he would be standing down from Test cricket for the rest of the summer in order to fix a range of fitness issues.

So England are effectively left with Cook as their only viable captaincy option at the moment. The England selectors will be praying that Captain Cook turns things around-starting this Sunday in Southampton. If not, they will be in even deeper trouble.

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