Alastair Cook is fast becoming England’s premier cricketer and the young prodigy from Gloucester has also shown signs of a cricketing intellect on par with some of the best in the sport. The best captains are not always the best players in the team, just ask Misbah-Ul Haq or Darren Sammy, they are often the ones with the best cricketing brains, a sense of what needs to be done and when, and above all else, that most intangible of factors – leadership quality. What makes a good leader, charisma, performance, intelligence or all three?
It’s hard to know but when a potential leader is glimpsed, every eye sees it and every mind can comprehend it, after that, it’s up to the establishment to groom that individual into a future captain, much like the Australian Cricket Board and Michael Clarke, for years the Robin to Ricky Ponting’s Batman. The same it seems, has been planned out for Alastair Cook, now England’s ODI captain and waiting in the wings for his shot in the test arena. My argument is, he should be given his chance sooner, rather than later.
England has in recent months been dragged through hell, first by Pakistan, the 3-0 whitewash their worst in recent years and now with South Africa firmly in the drivers seat. I am purposefully omitting the test series against the West Indies as lets be honest they have become world crickets whipping boys. Looking back over England’s recent results, it is hard not to be stunned by the 3-0 hammering at the hands of a still green Pakistan. Many excuses have been delivered in particular the game was in the subcontinent where England have traditionally suffered. Credit must also be handed to the Pakistanis, in particular Saeed Ajmal but questions must be asked of Strauss.
For a time, Strauss was scrutinised but then came the West Indies and all was either forgiven or forgotten. This series with the South Africans should change all that. Strauss, for a long time was a good captain in charge of a very good team who for the most part had it all their own way. Of the 49 tests that Strauss has captained England, he has won 24 (a win percentage of almost 49%) which is exceptional when compared to almost every other English captain in history. His 2 Ashes victories have all but enhanced his reputation. Why do you want to have him replaced? I hear you ask, well read on.
Strauss’ first match in charge was a draw against Pakistan, followed by three victories in a row. The Pakistanis have always posed a threat, especially in bowler friendly conditions, but this particular team barring Mohammed Yousuf lacked drive, unity and a quality batting line up. Pakistan were soundly beaten and apart from the whole ball tampering controversy, Strauss and England didn’t have much to worry about. West Indies should have been yet another straight forward victory but it wasn’t and the vast majority of games were drawn, calling into account Strauss’ instinctive defensiveness. England didn’t have the same bowling depth or quality as they do now and the batting wasn’t quite the monstrous run getting machine it has become with a primed Cook, stoic Trott and back in form Bell. Strauss didn’t have the ability to think of a way round his own tried and tested tactics, a trait which would become familiar to England fans in times to come.
I think it would be fair to say much of England’s dominance and rise to number one can be attributed to home advantage and the advent of a lethal bowling line up, taking advantage of English conditions. Strauss has had a part to play in creating a solid team and nurturing young players