Friday, December 19, 2014

Cook will keep his job, to save the face of the suits and becausethere's no-one else

Alastair Cook will be confirmed as England Captain for the upcoming Cricket World Cup today for two reasons - neither of them convincing. Firstly Cook is the basket in which the ECB placed all their eggs when they sacked Kevin Pietersen. A modicum of sanity among the suits would have seen that there was never a "Cook or Pietersen" moment - it was not "either/or" - and careful handling could have made it "both". But they contrived to create one when they said that KP had to go in order for all to get behind Cook - as if Cook could only lead if Pietersen wasn't there. Not true. Second Cook will hang on because there is no obvious successor. Morgan is smart and articulate and a terrific batsman, but horrendously out of form and cannot really be sure of holding his place in the ODI side let alone leading it. Joe Root simply isn't ready yet and it would be daft to cloud the head of this outstanding player by burdening him with the captaincy.

The days when if Peter May was injured Colin Cowdrey or Ted Dexter or Tom Graveney could slip into the captaincy of England are long gone. The drift into insignificance of the County system and the fact that the players in England's international squads play little part in it means that to be County captain has little import  - Vaughan, Strauss and Cook  hardly ever captained any team other than England. 

It is said that Australia choose eleven players and then from among them they choose the Captain. I'm not sure that was ever entirely true, but the principle is a sound one. So choose an England ODI side - does Alastair Cook get in it? Nah! So what's he doing as Captain then (see Para one above). 

Limited Overs internationals, whether of the 50 Over or the 20 Over variety, are good fun - or should be. Players should enjoy playing in them as much as spectators enjoy watching them. They should be joyful occasions and not too solemn - especially the World Cup. Cooky is a decent chap but a bit of an introvert and hardly inspirational. The World Cup won't be won by cerebral thinking and in Peter Moores and Cook England is led by two people who seem to me to think too much. Darren Lehmann and Michael Clarke have restored Australia's fortunes not by analysis but by leadership. Do we have the people to do the same? It's hard to spot them. 

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