Oodles of critics and a handful in support, this, unfortunately is the situation of the England captain Alastair Cook. After England suffered yet another defeat, though a heartbreaking one on this occasion, Cook's critics woke up once again to simply put all the blame on the skipper.
It seems that the whole of England has developed a penchant for blaming Cook for every loss whatsoever. May it be TMS, may be it be just another England fan, everyone has an obvious answer and a reason for the mess is Cook.
Doesn't it all look like blaming the principal of a school alone if a student fails? Almost every cricket expert has simply termed Cook as responsible for every loss whatsoever which is utter rubbish in my view.
If a team wins, then it is because of every single player present in there and it loses because of the very gentlemen. This is the way it goes I am afraid as cricket is a team game not a one-player sport. Though, as people have found it tough understanding the simple point, Cook has had to cop a hell lot of opprobrium despite him being not the sole reason for such a horrible time for the English game.
Sack the captain they say; isn't it more like taking a pill for a headache when you are actually suffering a fracture? In other words, Cook's sacking as a captain isn't the solution as his captaincy isn't the problem.
A team in transistion
Ask a captain who has lost Kevin Pietersen, Jonathan Trott and Graeme Swann at one point of time and you will get the answer as to what kind of a phase the Essex man is going through.
Just imagine for one moment you are Cook. Now you are struggling with your batting, focusing on younger players' batting, your senior players aren't firing, the team is losing and you are being criticised.
So many problems at a moment just about explains the English opener's agony. I'd again say that sacking him isn't the solution. Have the other seniors (apart from Stuart Broad) Matt Prior and Jimmy Anderson (stunning effort the other night though) fired lately? No, of course, and still the golden boy has been held the only one responsible. As the other big names of the team haven't been in form, Cook's woes have only increased.
The solution to this is that (1). The other doyens start firing, and (2). Cook strikes form as soon as possible. Obviously, Cook has been enduring a dip in form over the past year or so averaging just a shade under 26, a number, which, if doubled is the average of the very man back in his good days.
Runs with the bat
Of course, he's a batsman first and then a leader. It is often seen that if captain is struggling with his bat, he'll be struggling with his captaincy too. Cook is no exception as his leadership skills have only suffered because of his woes with the bat as these two things complement each other.
The time the Cook comes back in form, his captaincy will be worth watching as then, he won't be worrying about his half as much and the whole team will automatically step up as a skipper's good form inspires his team to do well too.
At the same time, the fans too need to be a bit patient (as I am) and stop firing Cook with bullets after bullets and rather speak a few inspirational words with their maws. I'm talking about being patient because this a re-building phase and at least a little amount of pain has to be taken before the fortunes turn around.
Having said that, I'd again warn the team about the "new era" and re-building mentality (which gives a sense of security). Focusing on the cricketing reasons of why a match was lost will do a lot good instead of using this new era as an excuse for defeat.
The right man
All in all, Cook is, was and will be the right man to lead England out of this mess. Despite being forced by so many to resign as captain and having been crucified way too much, the Essex lad is still determined to turn it around and restore the pride for the nation.
It's just his form with the bat that needs to be back and the rest will take care of itself. Every captain has had his bad times and good times. Cook gave England so many glories to gasconade of in his early days and everyone was in his favour but the fortunes just turned.
But mind you, they'll turn around again, and they will turn for Cook to become, mirabile dictu, the King of the English Jungle. Cook will for sure be a great captain, just a matter of time before times change..
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