New Delhi: England Test skipper Alastair Cook is under serious pressure after losing five-match series 0-4 against Virat Kohli-led India. Despite hitting a century in the first Test at Mohali, Cook struggled right throughout the series as a result of which several cricket experts reckon it might be time for him to step down as captain.
Ahead of England's tour to India, Cook had mentioned about stepping down as captain after expressing uncertainly over his future as the leader of the Test squad.
"Deep down I don`t know how much longer I am going to carry on," he said in an interview with this month`s Cricketer magazine quoted by The Times newspaper.
"It could be two months, it could be a year."
But he later played down the speculations just when the Test series was about to kick off.
"I do look forward to the day when hopefully I can play a Test match as just a batter, there`s no doubt about that. If that happens I am going to really enjoy standing at first slip and being the bloke who makes suggestions to whoever`s in charge and not being the bloke who has to make the final decision," he said.
Here's what experts related to England cricket have to say about Cook's future as Test captain:
Former England skipper Nasser Hussain feels that the left-hander should step down as the captain of the current Test team and hand over captaincy to Joe Root if he is taking the job for granted.
"If he still feels the same way he did when he started, if every defeat hurts him as much now as it did then, I believe he should carry on," Hussain, one of Cook`s predecessors, was quoted as saying by Sport24.
"But if any part of him feels as if he`s taking the job for granted, then he should have a serious think about handing it over to Joe Root. It`s not a job you do lightly."
Michael Vaughan, one of the most established names in English cricket, reckons England need Cook to contribute as a batsman, as he will be able to bat freely without the pressure of captaincy.
“When you are captain, and the team is losing, you do not enjoy the game. It drags you down. You wake up in the morning not really wanting to go out and play. Cook somehow has to rediscover that zest and energy to play the game. The team need his power and runs at the top of the order more than his leadership,” Vaughan wrote in his column in ‘Daily Telegraph’.
Vaughan further added that it was time for Cook to introspect and decide whether he can reenergise himself as the lead of the team.
“Nobody can accuse him of not giving everything. But to pick up a Test team that is on a losing streak to take on South Africa and the West Indies next summer, and then to Australia, he has to be absolutely committed to being captain. He has to sit down and ask himself is he the man to energise this England side for seven Test matches in the summer and win the Ashes down under or has he taken it as far as he can?
On the other hand, Cook found some support in England’s assistant coach Paul Farbrace, who threw his weight behind the beleaguered skipper.
“We’ve planned, and have been planning, for Cooky to be captain going to the Ashes in Australia next winter,” said Farbrace.
“Personally, I hope that continues. We know he still has the support of the team, and he’s a very popular bloke and very popular captain,” he was quoted as saying by ‘The Guardian’ newspaper.
It remains to be seen whether the English think tank retains him as the skipper, but the left-hander is clearly running out of time.