It seems to have been one debacle after another for Alastair Cook lately, and it was compounded with what happened at Headingley on Day 4 of the 2nd Test match against Sri Lanka, when Cook and his cohorts contrived to lose a Test match that England could have already won twice over.
It just seems to be one disaster after another for Cook, everything he touches seems to be going wrong. No form, no tactics, no imagination, even no luck.
England’s tactics in helping Angelo Matthews score a magnificent century and lead his team to a historic series victory on British soil were baffling.
And it wasn’t just Cook who baffled me – yes he is the leader, and so he has to carry the can – but he has experienced bowlers in Broad and Anderson, and experienced cricketers in Bell and Prior, so why didn’t any of them question the tactics? Or did they?
Also, why wasn’t a drink sent out from the dressing room with a message from Peter Moores during that embarrassing afternoon session? I know these things get picked up on TV, and Andrew Strauss (as captain) was once criticised for looking like he was getting advice from the dressing room, but this was one occasion when such criticism would surely have been the lessor of the two evils?
This seems to be an English disease. We seen similar rigid tactics from Broad in the World T20, when he seemed to be picking who bowled which Overs to a pre-determined plan, and couldn’t sway from this plan. It’s almost as if the England team as a whole is incapable of thinking on their feet.
I believe the problem and how to resolve it isn’t easily sorted either, as it starts way above Cook. There seems to be no joined up thinking with England. We can go back to all the bean-pole bowlers in the Ashes squad, leaving no room for a bit of variety with Graham Onions.
The decision to sack Kevin Pietersen when we had just lost Graeme Swann and Jonathan Trott, world class players don’t grow on trees, and England haven’t got them queuing up down the road.
The batting also had a long term frailty prior to the Ashes, as we have never replaced Andrew Strauss at the top of the order, and so we think it is a good idea to sack Pietersen on the back of all this!
Then we had the selections for this series. No front line spinner, and a team packed with seamers. I get the idea, early season pitches, etc, but this was a series in June, not mid May. Did anyone check the calender? Never mind the pitch conditions and long range weather forecast.
It was obvious that conditions weren’t outright seamer friendly for this series. It seems to be one baffling decision after another. Almost clueless.
And finally back to Alastair Cook, he will carry on as captain for the time being, and probably rightly so as there is no obvious heir apparent. He is 2/5 with William Hill to still be captain at the end of the India series, but England surely need to start planning now for a replacement to be in place well before next year’s Ashes.
I thought his decision to speak out against Shane Warne last week was a shocker, even before this latest episode.
What he did with Warne has told me that he cannot lead England into next year’s Ashes. Warne well suspected he was getting under Cook’s skin, now he knows it. How much constructive criticism will Cook now be getting next summer?
Cook has totally played into Australia’s hands this time and his position (as captain) for the Ashes is surely now untenable.