England's Test and ODI captain Alastair Cook has suffered a fair amount of criticism for his form and captaincy this season, but has stood firm throughout and is now set to lead England in ODI cricket for the foreseeable future.
Journalists, so-called experts and ex-players have all criticised Cook and, at times, it looked as though the easy option would be to stand down instead of constantly hearing criticism of himself.
Some may see it as stubbornness or sheer bloody mindedness but he has stood firm and you can't help admire the man for the way he has conducted himself. He has largely kept his counsel throughout and concentrated on improving himself and the team and rarely been drawn into discussing his future or form.
A lesser man may well have bowed to the constant criticism from all angles. His captaincy credentials in both Test and ODI cricket have been questioned and his form with the bat has also come under close scrutiny.
However, by the time the English cricket season ended Cook appeared to have answered a lot of his critics in the Test match arena.
Cook's personal record in Test matches certainly warranted him being given time to rediscover his form.
Despite struggles against Sri Lanka earlier in the summer the Test squad have developed together and some individuals have repaid Cook for the faith he has shown in them. Cook's patience and his and the team's improvements helped England win the Indian series 3-1.
He does though have more questions in the one-day format of the game to answer especially as pressure is mounting on his role in the side, never-mind his captaincy. A lot of critics feel that England need to be more dynamic at the top of the order by using opening batsmen who are proven big-hitters, such as Jason Roy and Alex Hales. It will take a lot to dissuade this thinking.
Series defeats to Sri Lanka and India will not have helped his ODI standing.
Cook has, however, been named the ODI captain for the Sri Lanka tour in November but there is no doubt his performances will be viewed with keen interest. He needs to prove that he can be bold and dominant but in the sub-continent this could be difficult to do on slow turning pitches.
England have also confirmed that Cook is the man to lead them during the 50-over World Cup next year in Australia and New Zealand. If England progress though to the latter stages of the tournament then he may well have answered his critics but anything less than a semi-final place will possibly lead England to reassess how they approach ODI cricket.
Whatever happens there is no doubting Cook as a person and his Test match record is second to none but ultimately, as captain of the ODI team, he needs big scores and results to win over his critics. Time will tell but I doubt whether Alastair Cook will continue one-day cricket after the World Cup.
He still has many years left in Test match cricket and plenty of English records to break, it may be more beneficial to him, and English cricket, if he concentrates on that.
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