England’s defeat to India in the ongoing series has raised questions about the leadership of the Test team, particularly after the current incumbent Alastair Cook remarked that he might be nearing the end of his cycle as Test skipper before the tour of India. Will we see Cook captain England to another Ashes glory in Australia next year?
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The team’s defeat at the Wankhede means that England have now lost seven Test matches in the calendar year. The most number of Tests that they have lost in a year stands at eight. If the side were to lose to India in Chennai, which is a major possibility when one accounts for the pitch at the venue as well as the fact that England have been woeful in dealing with India’s spin bowlers, they will equal an unwanted record.
Things certainly do not look bright for a skipper who has looked distant and conservative in his approach. While his leadership worked well for his team at one point of time, the current England team look to be crying out for a proactive and vociferous leader who can take them to the next level.
The only man who is currently under consideration to fill the role when Cook calls it quits is Joe Root. The man is certainly among the top three batsmen in international cricket currently. Root has often looked at ease when he has been allowed to lead the series and has the capacity to think out of the box.
In the Wankhede Test match for example, when Cook went off for a while when India were dominating the game, Root introduced himself into the attack. It worked for England as he ended up picking a couple of wickets. The manner in which he played in the second innings, scoring 77 runs under very tough conditions spoke volumes about the bravery and the capabilities of the man.
England coach Trevor Bayliss has also been drawn into the debate off late. While the Australian had remarked that he has been forced to step up his role in the dressing room at the end of the third Test in the ongoing series, Bayliss has said that the debate surrounding the captaincy has become “a pain in the backside”.
An irritated Bayliss said: “I suppose if you guys keep talking about it enough, he’ll start believing it at some stage.”
Cook, who has skippered England in a record 58 Test matches after taking over from Andrew Strauss, has the backing of his coach to continue in the role. All-rounder Ben Stokes also spoke in support of his skipper when he had been asked to comment on the emerging reports.
However, England do not play Test match cricket in seven months following the end of the tour of India. Cook has not played limited overs cricket in a while and is unlikely to make a comeback in the shorter formats of the game. With question marks around his leadership and with so much time before England return to action in the five-day game, Cook’s future as England captain remains in doubt.
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