Cook remains captain despite coup from former skippers
It seems that England cricketer Alastair Cook and famous 18th century explorer (and namesake) James have more than captaincy and being masters in their respective fields in common. The latter was stabbed to death by native Hawaiians, while the former is currently the victim of a less drastic and more metaphorical coup and back-stabbing from ex-national skippers.
The likes of past England captains Michael Vaughan, Sir Ian Botham, Michael Atherton, Alec Stewart and Nasser Hussain have all called for Cook to stand down – and even Geoffrey Boycott agrees with them!
This comes after England’s uninspiring performances, particularity in Tests, since being whitewashed by Australia in the Ashes in early 2014. They then lost to Sri Lanka at home and are currently 1-0 down after two encounters in a five-match series against India, also on home soil, with Cook once again failing with the bat and his side collapsing at Lord’s.
Despite overwhelming calls for Cook to be replaced as captain, coach Peter Moores has decided to stick with his man for the third Test, that starts on July 27th – where England are still 6/4 favourites to win.
Former captain Vaughan, though, who steered England to their first Ashes win in 18 years in 2005, reckons Test part-timer Eoin Morgan would be a better fit. Irish-born occasional one day skipper Morgan is 6/1 joint third-favourite to be next permanent captain in the longest form of the game.
“It is probably the right thing for him, the person, to be taken away from the England captaincy,” Vaughan said. “Morgan has fresh eyes, a new approach. It can’t be any worse.”
The Yorkshireman even went on to suggest that Cook, who has now gone more than a year and 27 innings without a Test ton, temporarily takes a break from the game.
“Go and spend four or five months away from cricket,” Vaughan added. “He’s 29 years of age, he’s been in this environment for eight years non-stop. That takes its toll as a player never mind with the captaincy burden as well.”
Another England hero captain, Botham, wrote in a tabloid blog: “The burden of captaincy is definitely weighing Alastair Cook down. In my opinion he needs a break from the job and the game.
“It is all well and good the captain standing there and saying, ‘I’m trying very hard and giving it everything’ but when the brain is scrambled, it’s scrambled.”
Atherton, meanwhile, wrote in a newspaper article: “It gives no pleasure to write it, but the tap on the shoulder for Alastair Cook should come.”
Perhaps more surprisingly were the words of the usually more controversial Boycott – briefly England captain – who echoed the comments of his successors. Boycott, affectionately nicknamed ‘greatest living Yorkshireman’, gave his typically blunt views towards the Cook – who overtook his joint record for England centuries.
“[Cook’s] obviously not going to move unless you get six wild stallions to pull him out. It’s that stubbornness about him. He’s only interested in what he sees,” he said. “There’s only him, his wife, his family and his friends think [he is the right man to captain England]. I don’t think too many other people do.”
Batsman Ian Bell currently tops Coral’s list to be next permanent England Test captain at 6/4, with young Yorkshire sensation Joe Root, who recently hit a double hundred against Sri Lanka and 150 over India, second at 2/1.
Others on the list include bowlers Stuart Broad at 6/1, who is national Twenty20 skipper, and James Anderson at 10/1, while you can get odds of 50/1 for exiled Kevin Pietersen to make a dramatic return to the setup as leader.
Yorkshire captain Andrew Gale, meanwhile, who has never played for England at any level, but the batsman whose county lead the way in the County Championship Division One, is a more-fancied price at 20/1.
In other England cricket news, wicket keeper Matt Prior has decided to take a rest from the game to recover from various injuries, which means future superstar Jos Buttler will wear the gloves for the rest of the series against India.
The 23-year-old has played 63 times in the short form of the game for the national side, but this will be his Test debut.
Anderson, however, may miss the fourth Test at his home ground of Old Trafford, due to a disciplinary hearing over his alleged push and verbal attack on India’s Ravindra Jadeja during the match at Trent Bridge.