Wednesday 21 February 2018

'Lonely' Alastair Cook in need of right recipe – Giles

England captain Alastair Cook
England captain Alastair Cook

Derek Pringle

Ashley Giles, England's former one-day coach, believes Alastair Cook is an isolated figure who badly needs runs and the support of his senior players if the team are to turn around a disastrous summer.

"Cook is a bit stranded and I can imagine it is very lonely for him as there isn't a lot of leadership in the team to help him out, especially as Matt Prior has left it to sort out his injuries," said Giles.

"It's a really difficult time for Cooky. The single biggest thing is for him to get runs for the team, though whether he can do that consistently while he is captain, we have still to find out.

"If he gets a hundred in the next Test, most of the barbs will disappear and the effects will be twofold – we'll get a big score on the board and, if we then bowl anything like we can, we'll put India under pressure and most likely win. If he doesn't score well, the issues about his captaincy are likely to continue."

While Giles will not speculate on whether Cook should resign if the opener's and England's drought continues, he thinks he knows the identity of the team's next captain, providing the post is not vacated imminently.

"Joe Root is pretty much worth investigating as a leader. As we have seen with Cook, it's a huge amount of stress. Cook's an incredibly tough bloke and it's clearly having an effect on him, so I don't think now is an ideal time for Joe as he has just found his feet again and getting among the runs.

"After the disappointment of the Ashes, this summer should have been all about getting some quick wins in the bank," Giles said.

"The pitches have been frustrating, though from watching the last day at Lord's there has also been some pretty poor decision-making by the players."

Lord's was where decline became an emergency. On a perfect surface for England's pace attack, India out-bowled and outbatted them to win by 95 runs and go 1-0 up in the series.

"Whether they stick with Cook depends on the final result. But the best captains tend to have the best teams and this side is definitely not the side it was a couple of years ago." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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