The Telegraph
Wednesday , July 23 , 2014
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Alastair needs to go as captain, says Boycott

The day after England’s humiliation at Lord’s, the English cricket fraternity was vocal about the team. Expectedly, most of the discussions were centred around Alastair Cook, his captaincy and his terrible form.

Here’s what some of the former England players (alphabetically) had to say and write about England and the Lord’s Test:

Ian Botham ( In Daily Mirror): We’ve been talking about England’s performances being substandard over the last 12 months — but that was the worst of the lot. Who would have thought Indian seamers would out-bowl English seamers on a wicket prepared to resemble classic home conditions? Ridiculous.

The burden of captaincy is definitely weighing Alastair Cook down. In my opinion he needs a break from the job and the game. I feel for the captain, he’s been the hero and he scored hundreds for fun in his first few games in charge, but now he is patting back half-volleys and nicking wide balls.

I would think you’ve got to fall on your sword at some stage. He’s got to say, ‘this is not working, it’s running through the team now and I’m stepping down’.

Geoffrey Boycott (In The Daily Telegraph): It is a simple question. Now that Alastair Cook has declined to give up the captaincy for the benefit of the team, will the England set-up have the balls to sack him?

The selectors and the managing director, Paul Downton, gave Cook their full backing at the beginning of the summer. But it is obvious to most ex-players that he cannot cut it. Tactically, he has not got it and the team’s playing poor cricket.

It is important that the selectors do not become stubborn and stick with Plan A in an effort to avoid embarrassment. We all make mistakes and there is no shame in admitting they got this wrong.

It is as if England have no direction and there’s no common sense in the dressing room. Cook needs to go as captain and maybe stay for one more Test as a batsman only.

Andrew Strauss (In The Independent): I think the ECB have placed a lot of faith in Alastair Cook. I also think that halfway through the series, with the series still alive, would be the wrong time to do it.

I still think the best case for England, certainly in the short term, is for Alastair Cook to regain form and for England to find a way of winning this Test series, and then the picture’s looking a lot rosier than it is right at the moment.

Graeme Swann: Ajinkya Rahane was without a doubt the standout Indian player in the second Test. There is no way he could have ever batted on a wicket like this. He would have turned up on the first morning, and thought to himself, ‘How do you bat on a pitch like this?’ And then he went on to get that beautiful hundred. That first innings was the difference in the Lord’s Test.

The way he batted, he made England come up with the most ludicrous tactic I could imagine. That’s not about the bowlers or the captain, that is purely down to the batsman. For me, Rahane should have been the Man of the Match, no doubt!

Ishant (Sharma) bowled a splendid spell, don’t get me wrong. But a few of those wickets were simply gifted to him by some really bad shots by the English batsmen. I was surprised that so many of them got out in the same way.