After the Headingley debacle, it looks like Alastair Cook is safe in his role as England captain for the time being. He has had full backing from coach Peter Moores, and there have been no soundings coming out of Lord’s suggesting anything is going to change any time soon.
This still hasn’t stopped the bookmakers opening books on who the next England (Test) captain will be, with Warwickshire’s Ian Bell the current favourite.
I’m not sure I’d be getting stuck into a market like this at the moment. As I have already eluded too, there is no talk of Cook being replaced. And a quick glance down the list of possible replacements shows there are no obvious nor outstanding candidates waiting in the wings.
Ian Bell is a best price of 11/4 with Betfair, but I can’t see any logic in making Bell the next England captain. He doesn’t strike me at all as captaincy material, and as England’s only other senior batsman, do we want to hamper him with the stresses and hassles of the top job?
Stuart Broad is a 4/1 shot with Stan James, and while I wouldn’t pick him, as current T20 captain he has to be a serious player in the running. I wouldn’t like him in the job as I got the impression in the World T20 that he didn’t have much of a clue either, he seemed to be captaining to a pre ordained plan, a plan that wasn’t too be strayed from no matter what.
It looks like Cook stays in the job by default (for the time being). I can understand him carrying on throughout the India series, as there is no one else. And in fairness to Cook, he has probably earned the right to be given the chance to put things right.
Cook’s final involvement in the India series will be the 5th and final ODI fixture at Headingley (of all ironies) on Friday 5th September (there is a T20 afterwards), and William Hill are offering odds that Cook is still captain on 31st September (basically, will he lead England after this series).
Hills are offering 2/5 that Cook is still captain on 31st September, and 7/4 that he will no longer be captain on this date.
The end of the India series could well be a watershed moment with regard to the England captaincy as I do wonder if Cook’s outburst against Shane Warne ahead of the 2nd Test (against Sri Lanka) may have sealed his fate already?
Is it now possible for Cook to lead England against Australia in next year’s Ashes? By moaning about Warne in the way he did, Cook has now announced to every man and his dog that Warne can get to him with public criticism.
And does anyone really think that Warne will leave it now that he knows he has got a bite? Of course he won’t.
Unless Cook performs brilliantly – both in his role as captain and with the bat – against India and puts the argument to bed, this will carry on up to, and during the Ashes. So it will be interesting to see how England perform against the Indians, and what happens with the captaincy at the end of the series.