Boyman on Sport - A tale of two captains

England cricket captain Alastair Cook is under immense pressure following his side's defeat to India

England cricket captain Alastair Cook is under immense pressure following his side's defeat to India

First published in Sport Basingstoke Gazette: Photograph of the Author by , Sports Reporter

CAPTAINCY has been a big subject for the debate in the last few days.

Steven Gerrard's international retirement has created a vacancy in the England football team, while Alastair Cook is under seemingly unbearable pressure as skipper of the English cricket team.

The two roles are very different. Captaining England at football is little more than a ceremonial role, and too much is often made of it, while leading the cricket team is a far more involved job.

Not only do you have to do all of the things expected of a football captain, setting an example, speaking to the media and so on, but in cricket, the skipper is also the team's tactician, setting the field and telling the bowlers how to bowl.

It is with this part of the game that Cook has come in for criticism for a long time, while his poor recent form with the bat has only served to crank up the pressure.

There is no doubt that England have struggled tactically of late, but is that something we can lay solely on the shoulders of Cook? England have a massive entourage of coaches around them. If they are not giving the captain tactical advice and working out plans for opposition batsmen, I’d suggest they are not doing their jobs properly.

Cook may not be the ideal captain, but who are the alternatives? If there is a better tactician out there with Cook, why is he not having a word with the skipper, making suggestions? Probably because that player doesn’t exist.

Even if there was a better option, I’m not sure how they would go about stopping the players taking on the sort of suicidal shots that saw England crash to a humiliating defeat in the second test against India on Monday.

It seems that Cook will retain the captaincy for the next test, which begins in Southampton on Sunday. In my view, that’s the right thing to do, rather than parachuting in a temporary replacement, a move that would stink of desperation.

More concerning is Cook’s lack of form with the bat, but we’d do well to remember the old adage that form is temporary, while class is permanent.

Cook is likely to end his career as England’s most prolific batsman. He’s class, but he we need him to find his best form as soon as possible.

Returning to football, I’d be surprised if Wayne Rooney wasn’t given the armband for his country. He’s the best player and somebody that the young players in the squad will undoubtedly look up to.

I’m not sure that the English public would totally agree, but it won’t really make a difference to the way England play either way.

In my opinion, the Italians have got the right idea, giving the armband to the player with most caps. Simple, but effective – and using that system Rooney would get the nod anyway.

Have your say on these issues using the comment box below, or Tweet me @JBoymanGazette.

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