No Indian summer for Captain Cook
England’s loss to India was followed by the surprise resignation of Alastair Cook as England test captain. A pre-meditated decision to coincide with the end of the India series, England’s leading test run scorer has stepped down from the role of captaincy, leading to many reports of Joe Root being groomed as his successor. With 11,057 runs scored in total, with an average 46.85, there is no doubt that Cook will go down as one of England’s greats. regardless of how long he captained the side. A captain characterised with great victories as well as significant setbacks, with key examples such as the Ashes victories, and the 2014 whitewash losses to Australia and Sri Lanka, as well as the Kevin Pietersen saga. The view of who will become next captain is not a foregone conclusion as Andrew Strauss, England Director of Cricket, concludes that “there is a process to go through”. Many are tipping Joe Root and indeed Strauss also praised his qualities, yet what confirms Root to many England fans is Cook words to Strauss in his ending statement where he wanted the next captain to have “new blood, new impetus and fresh thinking”. The future of the captaincy being given to Root would be an interesting decision due to his role in all forms of England cricket: Test, One Day Internationals (ODIs) and T20 matches.
It was India’s victory in the third game of the T20 series that almost overshadowed Cook’s decision as history was made. England signed off their Asian adventure in 2016/17 with a defeat from India in all forms of the game. In what has become familiar to many England cricket fans, the class of the Indian batsmen and bowlers blew away English resistance. Many records were broken in this 75-run victory for India. It was a match that saw a maiden international T20 fifty for MS Dhoni, taking him 76 attempts – the most by any batsman. This shocking statistic is further surprising when considering the success MS Dhoni has had in the Indian Premier League captaining his side to victory. Two more records fell as Chahel cemented India’s imposing 202-6 score with bowling figures of 6 wickets for 25 runs. These are the third best figures ever in an international T20 match, and an Indian record. It led to a significant dent in England’s middle order, as they lost 8 wickets in 8 runs going from 119 for 2 to 127 all out in only 19 balls. While this collapse was not completely emblematic of England’s campaign in Bangladesh and India, it did confirm a convincing Indian victory. It was their fallibility to spin that cost England in the subcontinent, as has been the stereotypical excuse in the past, but this time a truly world class toppled an England side on the verge of change.
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