The English Captain is running through a bad patch at present and has gone 24 innings without scoring a test century. Also, his captaincy abilities are now questioned by former captains including Nasser Hussain.
The England selectors had asserted their faith on Cook after the Ashes whitewash earlier this year and alongwith England’s newly appointed coach, Peter Moores, Cook was expected to lead England into what was termed a “new era”. England has struggled in international cricket in this year and at present they are battling to avoid series defeat against Sri Lanka.
Also, Criticism for Cook followed in the wake of England’s collapse on the 4th day of the second Test and are at present on the verge of defeat at Headingley in Leeds, England. England took a 108 run lead in the first innings and also reduced Sri Lanka to 277 for 7 in the second but the stunning 8th wicket partnership of 149 between Sei Lankan skipper, Angelo Mathews and Rangana Herath have positioned Sri Lanka at the driver seat and it made England’s target to 350 in the fourth innings.
Cook’s poor form continued even in that vital innings and he departed for 16 runs in the innings. His position in the team is now questioned firmly.
On speaking to the BBC’s Test Match Special, Geoffrey Boycott said Cook’s form was a “recipe for resignation.” He also added, “We thought the nightmare of Australia was over, but it is still here. I don’t know where this side can go. The concern with England’s new-look batting line-up is the captain is not in good nick, we’ve lost Jonathan Trott and we’ve lost Kevin Pietersen. He could resign, Cook. He might if we lose. He’s not happy in the job.”
Prior to the test, Cook pointed that some of the attacks by former players, Shane Warne, in particular, were pretty much personal in nature. However, with recent results not going England’s way and Cook continuing his poor run, the general consensus appeared to be that the England captain was running out of time.
Former England Captain, Nasser Hussain also commented on the matter at his column for The Daily Mail and he said, “As captain it is your job to try to make something happen when things are going badly, to alter the course of the game. If something isn’t working, change it. Cook is clearly feeling the heat at this early stage of England’s new era, you could tell that from his reaction before the match to Shane Warne’s comments. The captain is clearly an issue for England now.”
Hussain also went a step further. He criticized Cook’s defensive approach in Captaincy and questioned about his decision to not use Moeen Ali’s off-spinner more. Ali bowled surprisingly well and dismissed Sangakkara and Thirmanne in the space of 3 deliveries in the second innings yet he was given only 11 overs.
Hussain said, “There is clearly confusion over Moeen’s role. Cook has used him like a part-timer but on these two dry pitches at Lord’s and Headingley maybe he is a bit better than that. If he’s not, then is he one of the six best batsmen in the country?”
Even Michael Atherton, another former English captain, felt that there was a sense of helplessness around Cook and according to him, it was not an encouraging sign.
Atherton said in his column for The Times, “By stumps last night there was not so much a faint whiff of danger floating on the breeze, as the rank smell of fear all around, and of fatal consequences for Alastair Cook’s captaincy. Losing games and not scoring runs is a bad combination for Alastair Cook – it’s not a combination a captain can survive too long.”
Cook’s performance, as well as his captaincy will be severely monitored in the India series and if he fails there, ECB might take a stern step against him.