Strauss versus Cook; Battle for the Captaincy

When Alastair Cook was awarded the captaincy for England’s one-day side, his critics were loud and ubiquitous (Michael Atherton famously remarked he was a ‘donkey’). He went on to win the Man of the Series Award in the recent series against Sri Lanka, scoring 298 runs at a strike rate of 96.8. With Andrew Strauss’ form taking a nosedive in the last 12 months, all eyes will be on the openers in the forthcoming India Test series.

Now that it’s clear that Cook is being groomed to take over the Test captaincy from Strauss (who turned 34 this year), there could be some tension at the top of the order. The England set-up will obviously deny any such attitude, but Strauss will know that his successor is not only playing the cricket of his life, but he is also proving himself as England captain in one-day cricket.

Strauss has been the most successful and the most amicable England captain in recent years, but the England setup is ruthless these days, and they would not be any hesitation in casting him aside if the ECB believed he was surplus to requirements.

These days England players always refer to ‘the team’ rather than the individual. A single unit trying to work as efficiently as it can. There can be no space for nostalgia or goodwill.

Strauss will find his form again because he is a quality cricketer. Perhaps it will do him good to have Cook firing at the other end, giving him stiff competition.

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