For the history of Cricket, there has never been a time when the captain of a team was not important or central in the teams plans to win a match. Obviously cricket is not one of those sports where if your captain is absolutely useless you can still have a shot at winning. No its not. The game is about eleven men collectively working together through individual and team performances to carry out a win. However, the team cannot do anything, it doesn’t matter how good your team is, if the captain is incompetent of meeting the teams requirements. At the present time the test matches between England and India have just commenced and we have one of those rare occasions where both sides have dull captains who like to watch their opponents bat whether it’s the number 5, or even the number 11.
Alastair Cook has been copping all the attention over the last 12 months on his defensive captaincy, in fact that’s the closest label I can think off without him having a cry about the ‘personal attacks’. A captain who wins 3-0 at home and then a few months later loses 5-0, has a flaw in his blueprint for captaincy, but its Alastair Cook his record speaks for it self so I guess letting him captain another series to prove himself is only fair, but it looked like personal sabotage in the next series against the Sri Lankans. Alastair Cook didn’t show much inspiration to his teammates on the field but his thoughts where conveyed brilliantly by his body language which told the England Bowlers “Ok so we are incapable of getting any wickets, lets try to see if they can bat”, and his field settings expressed to Sri Lanka’s Skipper Angelo Mathews “Ok Angie, you do what ever you want”, and Angelo Mathews took the offer, nudging the ball into spaces left open, blocking four balls then smashing the fifth for a boundary and then nudging the sixth for a single. This was a good three quarters of day four of the second test in which Alastair Cook looked unfazed by his teams arising defeat.
So you must be thinking the England Cricket Board (ECB) has to replace him for sure, he doesn’t even believe in scoring runs anymore. I’m sure if it were Kevin Pietersen we would seen a new face, but no. So a new series and Alastair Cook makes the same old mistakes, by pushing the field back, however a positive was derived in that he didn’t rush to do that. He realized that the pitch is very poor and there was not much the bowlers could do. He attacked as much as he should but then, a stream of wickets occurred and was on the verge of closing in on the innings. It truly must be hard to watch England play cricket during the Cook Era as he returned to his style of captaincy and observed as the tail embarrass the English at Nottingham. However I don’t think anyone was happier than Alastair Cook when India started fielding because his counterpart is as ineffective in the captain’s chair as him.
So India head down the stairs as Trent Bridge to take the field and Cook continues his nightmare, being bowled around the legs with a ball that was really a nothing ball. Alastair Cook in all sorts of predicaments and will be definitely having his place in the side questioned. He can’t catch a break and then to make it worse soon his team is in tatters at 202-7, trailing by 250. Except soon Alastair Boy, your life may just get a little better. You may throw the suicide hotline number in the bin and thank the boy who was once punched by David Warner; praise James Anderson the number eleven batsmen and hug Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Dhoni’s captaincy was actually worse than Alastair Cooks, a huge statement but if you look at it from an un-bias perspective then it is. To pick a fourth seamer as an Indian captain is rare but just because your in England is just unintelligent, however if your not going to bowl him and he is batting at number eight then your just creating unnecessary problems. Ravichandran Ashwin deserves more of a place in the India side than Binny or any of the bowlers for that matter.
Of course, some will say it wasn’t just Dhoni’s fault, it was the brilliance of Joe Root and James Anderson and that’s a valid argument for someone who doesn’t know much about the game, maybe that was said by Alastair Cook, but for people who actually understand the game would jump on Dhoni’s Body line theory and say that was overused and after a while it became very, very predictable. No matter what, when you pick a team you must have more than one tactic to get tail-ender out, and if not you should just give up because Test Cricket is a lot harder than that. Either way Dhoni was either giving Alastair Cook an early birthday or Christmas present as they are on the same day or was just being a bad Captain. Indian Supporters you choose.
So as the harshness of this article is conveyed through the criticizing of both captains but is only to show the true weakness, in the hope of trying to give the fans some quality cricket this summer. Sympathy must go out to the advertisers as this series looks to be balanced, and more balanced than you know as both captains will be looking forward to draws than wins. I truly hope though that both captains prove me wrong and make way for an interesting series.