Saturday 24 March 2018

Cook in battle to save English captaincy

Alastair Cook
Alastair Cook

Stephen Brenkley

Alastair Cook's future as the England captain is in deep jeopardy after two heavy defeats in the Ashes series. Once he could do little wrong, but Cook is now the struggling leader of an embattled team who are confronting a sporting disaster.

Many observers, including former England captain Michael Vaughan, are suggesting that they could lose 5-0 to Australia. The tourists went down by 218 runs in Adelaide yesterday following their 381-run reversal in the first Test. Cook's personal contribution with the bat was four runs.

"I need to score more runs, we all do," said Cook (above). "But there are only so many times you can tell the lads to do it, and if you're not doing it, it makes it harder."

Cook was dismissed in both innings by England's nemesis, Mitchell Johnson, bowled by a sizzling, swinging delivery in the first innings and then misguidedly hooking the bowler's third ball in the second down long-leg's throat. Since the start of the home series against Australia in the summer, Cook has made 359 runs at an average of just 25.64.

When he first assumed the captaincy, it seemed that the position enhanced his scoring credentials rather than diminished them. He made hundreds in his first five matches when captain of the team, and in seven of the first 11.

His tactical leadership of the team has improved vastly and is attracting plaudits from unexpected quarters. But it is not field placings, bowling changes and speeches that ultimately count. It is results. The chances are that he will survive because he still has the loyalty of his team but an Ashes series heightens emotions and the quest for culpability. (© Independent News Service)

Irish Independent

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