Plenty of support for Cook removal

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Published: Friday 19th December 2014 by The News Editor

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The news that Alastair Cook’s reign as England one-day international captain is all but over has been welcomed by several former leaders of the national side.

Press Association Sport understands the left-handed opener has been relieved of his duties as skipper of the 50-over side following the team’s woeful run and his own wretched form with the bat.

The England and Wales Cricket Board have yet to confirm the decision but it comes in the same week ECB managing director Paul Downton endorsed Cook to lead the team in the World Cup, which starts on February 14.

However, an apparent U-turn on Friday means Eoin Morgan is set to replace Cook at the helm of the ODI side – and Michael Atherton believes it would be the correct decision.

“I think it’ll be a relief to Alastair,” Atherton, who who led England in a record 54 Test matches in the 1990s, told Sky Sports News HQ.

“He can now concentrate on batting in Test matches at the top of the order. I don’t think Eoin Morgan is going to be in the Test side so he can concentrate on the one-day side of things.

“With England’s schedule next year, it’s horrific in terms of the amount of cricket that’s being played, so I think it’s absolutely right that we have split captains because I don’t think it’s physically possible for one man to do both things.

“I think it’s the right decision. It makes them look a bit silly, so in many ways a brave one.

“Let’s face it, England can’t do much worse than they have been doing in recent times in one-day cricket. It’s a bold move, they’ve thrown a bit of caution to the wind, send some young players out there to play with freedom, hopefully, and see how they go.”

Nasser Hussain, who captained England at the 2003 World Cup, agreed with his former England team-mate but believes Cook can take heart from his desire to captain the team in spite of mounting criticism.

“It’s not ideal but I do think it’s the right decision, first and foremost for Alastair,” he said.

“Alastair should be quite proud of the way he’s fought to try and regain his form. He’s not a quitter, he’s not quit English cricket, he tried to fight hard but he’s gone 59 innings now in an England shirt without a hundred and this is one of the greatest batsmen we’ve ever produced.

“His stats are up there with the (Sachin) Tendulkars of this world and we want to see that Alastair Cook back very well for England in a Test shirt.”

Vaughan, who took charge of England in the 2007 World Cup, does not believe removing Cook significantly increases the team’s hopes of victory in next year’s tournament.

“Alastair Cook should have gone a while ago as England’s one-day captain,” he said in his Daily Telegraph column.

“Now the decision has been made it is time to look forward.

“I am now confident we will see a different England team in Australia for the World Cup playing a brand of cricket suited to the modern age.

“But let’s not kid ourselves. There are still problems in the team and removing Cook will not suddenly turn them into World Cup winners.”

The scrutiny on Cook increased after a recent 5-2 defeat in Sri Lanka, where Cook could also not improve his own poor form.

Another former captain Bob Willis said on Sky Sports News HQ: “It’s just got more and more embarrassing for him.

“He’ll be pretty devastated. He’s a very stubborn character, he’s a very proud Englishman and a very proud captain of England.

“But as the tour progressed, you could see the weight of the world was on his shoulders and I happen to think that it’s not only his form in one-day cricket that’s a concern. His form in Test match cricket has been poor as well.

“It’s something Alastair is going to have to address.”

Nick Knight, who played 100 ODIs for England, added: “I think in terms of one-day cricket, Alastair Cook’s position was untenable.”

Published: Friday 19th December 2014 by The News Editor

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