England selector James Whitaker has confirmed Alastair Cook will be England captain at next year’s ICC World Cup, according to BBC Sport.
Cook may have endured a torrid summer, but he has resisted relentless media pressure and come through it a far more experienced skipper than before.
Three Lions’ head coach Peter Moores clearly accepts the benefit of having one man in charge for both Tests and ODIs.
The strategy also has the backing of the ECB, who have extended it to the coach himself; whereas Andy Flower shared the T20 duties with Ashley Giles, Moores takes responsibility in all competitions.
There was little reason why that shouldn’t apply to the captain too, and even if Cook’s style of play looks more at home in Tests than in the one-day game, he can easily fit into a 16-man squad, and still leave space for the less experienced Jason Roy and James Vince.
What is more, there are few who believe England are serious contenders to go the whole way and win the tournament. In light of that, the trip to Australia and New Zealand is an entirely different exercise, and one that needs an experienced head in charge.
Even amongst Cook’s doubters, there is little agreement on who should replace him. Ian Bell – England’s Player of the Year for 2013 – has the same difficulties in converting his game to fit in with the fast pace of ODIs, and does not necessarily even want the job.
Stuart Broad is in the middle of an ongoing battle with tendonitis, and England’s failure at this year’s T20 World Cup (and especially the defeat to the Netherlands) serve as a black mark against his leadership.
On form, Cook can be England’s best out-and-out batsman, and off-field, he has been going back to basics in attempting to rediscover his unique batting style.
Considering that the ECB have given Cook their backing throughout the onslaught of criticism that ensued in England’s winless year, replacing him now would suggest to their World Cup rivals that the camp is in disarray, and worse than that, is willing to change its plans based on the opinions of former players such as Graeme Swann who called for Cook’s head.
Whitaker described Cook as an “exceptional leader”, who has displayed “huge amounts of fortitude and resilience over the summer”.
“I’d like to make it perfectly clear we are 100% behind Alastair Cook as captain”, he told the BBC.
“We feel he is our best man to lead the team into the World Cup.”