Watching Alastair Cook in the post match presentation interviews from both the sixth and seventh ODIs, I got the impression that Cook looked like he knew the writing on the wall. England’s captain looked downbeat, and had the demeanour of a man who knew he couldn’t continue in his job any more.
Then further to that, Cook continued to talk himself out of his job when in the post series press conference, he stated that he would have no complaints if he was removed as captain.
With Peter Moores refusing to back Cook live on Sky Sports after the sixth ODI, while giving his full endorsement to – the equally out of form – Eoin Morgan, the cracks were finally starting to appear in Cook’s previously watertight backing from England’s management.
I’m not being wise after the event, but given the reasons above, I would have been very surprised had Cook survived in his job after this latest selectors meeting. It might have taken them some time to get to today’s decision, but I think the selectors have finally made the right call in removing Cook today.
I think I speak for a lot of cricket fans, when I say that I feel sorry for Cook. He comes across as an honest, decent bloke, and it is obvious how highly he is thought of in cricketing circles, even all his critics have been careful not to be overly critical or personal when calling for his removal as ODI captain.
The selectors decision today – a few months too late – has put the man out of his misery. His demise has been slow and painful to watch, Cook needed saving from himself. He will no doubt be battered and bruised from his turbulent 12 months, and I hope the ECB will now look after him, treat him right and make sure he knows he has their backing (assuming he does have it) to remain as test captain. I also hope – probably in vain – that Cook was informed of this decision before it was leaked to the press.
Hopefully now Cook will feel a massive burden has been lifted of his shoulders, and it will help ease his workload and worry, and allow him to concentrate on his test match batting, and getting back to where he was 18-24 months ago.
I think it is fairly obvious Cook would have gone after the world cup, but doing it now has given him extra time to recharge his batteries and get himself ready for the busy year of test cricket he has coming up. He now has extra time to take a break, recharge his batteries, and – hopefully – come back fully refreshed.
Of his replacement, Eoin Morgan, I am a massive fan and believe he should have been both ODI and T20 captain for some time now. That said, had he got the chop after his recent poor form, I don’t think he could have had any complaints either.
Maybe the selectors didn’t want to dump two senior players and make too many changes this close to a world cup. Morgan also has plenty of limited overs cricket pedigree, is experienced, and is far more tactically astute in this format of the game. Had he been dropped, it would surely only have been until he recaptured his form. He also has the chance to bat himself into form in the Big Bash.
The 50 Over game has moved on over the past couple of years, leaving players like Alastair Cook way way behind. As is usually the case, England’s senior figures seem to be the last people on earth to realise this.
All this hasn’t made a massive amount of difference to England’s odds to win the cricket world cup. The bookmakers still make England joint sixth favourite behind the Aussies, South Africa, India, Sri Lanka and New Zealand. Eoin Morgan’s England are a best price of 10/1 with bet365 (who offer new customers a massive welcome bonus of £200.00) to win the 50 Over cricket world cup.