Alastair Cook endured a torrid winter with his England team suffering defeat after defeat against an Australian side who sensed a weakness and exposed it in such dramatic fashion. Cook stood firm during the winter but the humiliation that he and his team suffered could easily have ended his time as captain. However, the England opener has battled on and is looking for a new start under new coach Peter Moores.
During the Australia series Cook struggled to post any decent scores with the bat himself. He also looked to be very fragile in his captaincy, looking very conservative in his style at times, and was clearly out-captained by his opposite number Michael Clarke. It is very difficult to captain a humiliated side but sometimes a captain has to stand up and drag his team
through the hard times. To me it seemed as though Cook was just happy to move from one defeat to another and just simply accepted it.
Unfortunately for Cook he was appointed at such a young age to the England captaincy that he hasn't been able to experiment with his captaincy for fear of failure and he has also had limited opportunities at Essex to captain in a much safer environment. In essence he has learnt whilst doing the job. Coupled with opening the batting for England and scoring the runs that he has in his International career Cook has done very well and deserves praise for that. However, you are only as good as your last series and that was horrific to say the
If Cook did leave the captaincy then who would England ask to be the next captain?
This summer, against Sri Lanka and India, Cook will need to prove his critics wrong by being more innovative in his captaincy and by making things happen when they appear to be going wrong or the game is going through a period of stalemate.
There is no doubting Cook's quality with the bat. His meat and drink is scoring runs and since the start of the English first-class season Cook has looked in good nick. In his last Championship innings against Surrey he scored 127 which followed on from his 181 against Derbyshire in his previous game. These are all good signs for England. If Cook is in good form with the bat then he can devote more attention to his captaincy skills.
He is a certainty to carry on skippering the new look side but the vultures are circling and waiting to expose the flaws in his captaincy. If he can rediscover his form at International level and guide England to victory then his fragility as captain may not be criticised but when the going gets tough Cook will need to show more otherwise his days could be numbered.
It will be interesting to see how Cook's captaincy changes now that Peter Moores is in charge. Will he stay conservative or be more innovative?
Cook and England will start their International summer with a One-Day International against Scotland in Aberdeen on the 9th May when England will be under scrutiny more than ever before.
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