Even after being subjected to an enormous amount of obloquy, Alastair Cook did the apposite and stuck to his guns.
A man of steel, he was determined to turn it all around for a ruined English side. The fact that he was the right guy to lead England was there for all to see from the way the Essex man kept eating flak and never did he even think of giving up the captaincy, which mind you would have made life far easier for him.
But just like the skipper of a ship caught in a storm, Captain Cook wanted his side to be sailed through by the man himself and therefore persevered as its leader. All this time, the wiseacres knew Cook was one knock away from excelling as a captain and and boy didn't he captain well?
He simply couldn't put a foot wrong in the match with his field placements and bowling changes and reaped rewards as England hammered India by 266 runs, leaving the guests in tatters.
Having said all of that, I'd still advise Cook not to be too carried away by this victory and not to be complacent. No doubt, England need to give themselves a pat on the back and be proud of a flawless victory but such massive a victory doesn't mean they don't have to win ahead and at the same time, all of the worries still can't be termed as over, Cricket's not that easy a game after all.
By worries here, I mean consistency. We've seen all successful captains have led the teams with sheer excellence over a long period of time and whether Cook does that depends on how focused and confident will he stay at this crucial point of time when a test win drought is finally over.
A team that wins a test match after a long period of time can actually go two ways after such an astounding victory.
1 - The team's dominance begins
2 - It falls back down to earth with a thud.
What is the differentia here is how much focused a team stays and whether it can shake factors such as complacency. In England's case, it still remains to be seen whether they can repeat or perform anywhere near the level they performed at Southampton on a fairly regular basis.
At a time of such high an intensity when England are hanging in the middle of a thread and it seems that they'll finally start their journey back to the corner of this thread, Cook needs his focus to be on its prime level to first let people stop of even thinking about changing him (as a captain) and then setting long term goals for the team.
The time many of us can actually ease up a bit is when England beat India in this series and follow up by defeating them in the ODI series (and India are very strong in the ODIs mind you). Doing this will send the simple message that the Old England are back.
The plan for Cook thus remains to be simple: maintain the concentration and that bit of belief and then BOOM!, the world would be a better place if you are Alastair Cook.
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