Southampton (United Kingdom) (AFP)
Alastair Cook has expressed sympathy for Joe Root, his successor as England test captain, for a rotation policy which he says has left the current squad “in pursuit”.
Several key players have been deliberately omitted from the eight tests England have played so far this year, meaning Root has been repeatedly denied his strongest eleven.
The England and Wales Cricket Council has championed the system as a judicious response to the particular pressures of extended periods in the bio-secure bubbles needed for international play to continue amid the coronavirus pandemic.
But with wicket-beater keeper Jos Buttler missing five tests in a row, also partly because of her Indian Premier League commitments, many have questioned the implementation of the policy, if not the motives behind it at the amid accusations that she was skewed in favor of white ball cricket.
England lost 1-0 to India in February after a victory in Chennai – Buttler’s last test.
But they lost that streak 3-1 and this month their seven-year unbeaten streak at home ended after New Zealand won a two-game campaign 1-0, with a draw at Lord’s followed by an eight wicket defeat at Edgbaston.
Injuries to fast pitcher Jofra Archer and versatile Ben Stokes were made worse by breaks for Buttler, Jonny Bairstow, Chris Woakes, Moeen Ali and Mark Wood.
“You have to say it didn’t work for Rooty, and I’m so sorry for him,” said Cook, who was at a sponsor event on Monday.
“When you play for England, or are captain, coach or coach, you are mostly judged by the final results and he hasn’t had his best available players. You can’t buy the experience of Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Jonny Bairstow, Moeen Ali – those kinds of players make a big difference. “
– ‘Judged on the results’ –
Opening batsman Cook, who retired from international duties in 2018 as England’s all-time top scorer, added: “I never had to captain during a pandemic – I never even knew not what a pandemic was when I was captain – but you have a test captain who hasn’t been able to perform his best.
“The decisions do not seem to have been made correctly. I’ve been to the other side, where you try to make decisions for the right reasons, but you’re judged on your results, don’t you?
“It was going so well, winning the Test series at home, then Sri Lanka away and 1-0 against India. Then you rest and rotate the players, and from that point on, he’s chasing their tail a bit. “
But multi-format star Buttler, on a separate conference call Monday, said, “I don’t think there are perfect answers. “
The dashing shooter, who, after playing for Lancashire in the T20 Blast, will return to England when Eoin Morgan’s limited side start a three-match Twenty20 streak against Sri Lanka in Cardiff, added: “Good of course, it’s always frustrating to miss games.
“You would like to be available for everything. But in the current climate with all the complications of Covid etc, I think we need to take care of our people. “
Meanwhile, Cook warned of major changes to an underperforming first-order test match where Dom Sibley, Zak Crawley, Ollie Pope and Dan Lawrence all saw their position called into question ahead of an upcoming round of five home matches in India, currently competing in the first World Test Championship final against New Zealand
Cook, who still played for Essex, was asked if he had seen any obvious substitutes on the County Tour, ahead of England’s attempt to reclaim the Ashes in Australia later this year.
“No, not really, not in terms of someone who is totally ready,” he replied. “These players, I would say, are the best players right now. It seems that when the pressure is on, they have not yet found their method of being able to respond to it. “
© 2021 AFP