He may not be a cricketer like Gayle, Sehwag or (he who must not be named) Pietersen who can single-handedly take the game away from the opposition in a session but his ability to occupy the crease and score ‘daddy’ hundreds makes him a great Test Match cricketer.
Cook’s centuries against India in 2012 guided England from 1-0 down in the series to an improbable 2-1 win. Plus, last summer he guided England to a 3-0 victory in the Ashes. These things shouldn’t be forgotten.
An equally obvious point however, is that he is out of form and a rather poor Captain. Cook hasn’t scored a test match century since his 130 against New Zealand in May 2013.
Since then Cook has failed to make a century in 24 attempts. Even more worryingly Cook has only failed to get a start (less than 15 runs) on 9 occasions. It’s not that Cook is getting out before he can get in. He is getting set at the wicket and losing his wicket cheaply time and time again.
Now most Captain’s struggle with form at some point during their tenure and it is clear that Cook’s form is suffering due to his captaincy responsibilities. Vaughan and Strauss both had long runs of poor form during the time in which they were Captain. Vaughan in particular though offered lots of leadership and nouse on the pitch.
With respect to Cook, who seems like a nice guy, his captaincy skills are truly sub-par. He fails to motivate players to play for him. Pietersen has been kicked off the team because, he apparently wasn’t bothered. Well, isn’t the role of the Captain to make players care? Swann similarly, couldn’t find the motivation to continue to play for Cook after he left mid Ashes.
If you watched the game against Sri Lanka today this pattern of poor leadership continued. The England players didn’t seem to care. They were supposedly trying to bowl a team out to win a test match and a series but there was no energy on the pitch and the field layouts were poor. Anderson for instance was bowling to fields which allowed Sri Lanka’s number 9 batsman Herath to smack for boundaries at will.
England now haven’t won a Test Match in 7, losing 6 and drawing one. In this time England have spent more time looking clueless than an amnesiac trying to do algebra whilst remembering their birthday.
This brings us to the obvious question then Can Cook stay on as England captain?