Calcutta: Former England captains tore into Alastair Cook and Co. for their lacklustre and spineless show against India in the ODI series, which the visitors have already won taking a 3-0 lead in the five-match series with one dead rubber left to play.
Former captain Michael Vaughan, in his column for The Daily Telegraph, called for stripping Cook of the one-day captaincy. “Now is the time to take risks and replace Cook as captain of the one-day team,” Vaughan wrote.
The legendary Ian Botham said the performance of the side was nothing short of an embarrassment. “A total embarrassment from a team who should have designs on winning a World Cup in six months’ time,” Botham wrote in his column for The Mirror.
Andrew Strauss, however, feels sacking Cook before next year’s World Cup is not the remedy for England’s one-day woes.
The following are excerpts
Ian Botham: Rarely have I been so angry at watching an England cricket team perform. What I saw at Edgbaston was a joke. A total embarrassment from a team who should have designs on winning a World Cup in six months’ time. Instead, they’ll be lucky if they win an egg cup between now and then playing in this manner.
They just never learn and it upsets me to see them making the same mistakes time and time again. The one-day game has changed and we have failed to change with it.
When are we going to wake up and realise that positive, attacking cricket is what the 50-over game is all about, not half-hearted prods to get to 250?
There must be players out there who are capable of taking the risks needed to score runs at a faster rate, because this lot certainly aren’t.
Andrew Strauss: I don't think the right answer is to just discard Cook as captain before the World Cup. You’ve got to stick with him, but he’s got to find a way of resurrecting his form and setting the tone. Cook has got a massive role to play yet again. We've been on his case all summer, but he's got to lead from the front with the bat.
He turned it around in the Test series by taking a bit of pressure off himself. I think that's what we need to see from him a little bit more in one-day cricket – reacting to the ball coming down at him. He knows where his strong areas are and it's about committing to them, though he doesn't look to be in great form at the moment.
Still, he is very much part of the solution. If he can get himself back on board, then the other players also take confidence.
Michael Vaughan: Now is the time to take risks and replace Cook as captain of the one-day team. With six months to go, other teams are looking at this side and hoping that Cook remains as captain, and opens the batting at next year’s World Cup, because they know that England will not be a threat if it happens.
The rest of the world see one-day cricket through Twenty20 eyes, whereas England see it through Test match eyes. I think it is getting to the stage now when that harsh reality has hit home for England. Cook is a stubborn man. He proved it this summer when he defied people calling for him to go and made his point by winning the Test series against India.
But one-day cricket is different. If he is not going to stand down, then the tough call has to be made. If he is not willing to resign and (James) Whitaker and Paul Downton — the managing director of England cricket — can't see that a change needs to be made, then I seriously question the vision of the men making decisions in English cricket.