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“He’s the sort of guy that when challenged, goes out and proves people wrong”
Former England captain Nasser Hussain has announced that current skipper Alastair Cook should pay no attention to ex-Australia spin king Shane Warne’s comments about him being “negative, boring [and] not very imaginative”.
Hussain noted that Cook reminded him a lot of former captain Andrew Strauss as they both focus on getting “the job done” instead of showboating.
“What I like about Alastair Cook is the same thing I liked about Andrew Strauss,” Hussain told Sky Sports News. “He doesn’t stand in the middle of a pitch saying ‘look at me, I’m England captain, look how I do things, I’m all fancy dan, I’m a bit of a showboater.’ He just gets the job done. He wins Test matches.”
Since Cook succeeded Strauss as captain, England have lost just one Test match and won nine.
Cook also became the first English captain in 28 years to lead the national team to victory in a Test series against India on their home soil in November 2012.
His most recent accomplishment came in August this year, when England thrashed arch-rivals Australia 3-0 in the Ashes series.
“A captain is only as good as his bowling attack,” Hussain said. “You can have all the fancy plans you want but if you have Shane Warne at one end and Glenn McGrath at the other, you don’t need to too many captaincy skills.
“Cook doesn’t need to be overly imaginative with the bowling attack, because (James) Anderson, (Graeme) Swann and (Stuart) Broad know exactly what they are doing. The plans are pre-set by (David) saker and (Andy) Flower. They’re about drying up the opposition – join up the dots and you will get wickets.
“This summer, he didn’t need too much imagination against Australia. Nip the ball back into (Shane) Watson and hit him on the pads. Go at (Michael) Clarke with some short stuff and then pitch one up, get Swann at the left-handers.
“Clarke is a good captain, but captaincy is not just about setting some imaginative fields. Captaincy is all about man-management as well. Look at how Cook handled Kevin Pietersen when he became captain. You can tell by the way the England boys have reacted today, this will bring them together. They enjoy playing under Cook. The way he’s led from the front has been phenomenal.
“Some of the stuff Shane has said is spot on. At times England are defensive and unimaginative, you could call that boring, but it works for them so why should they change it?”
However, Hussain advised Cook to “think out of the box and be a little bit more imaginative” in Australia since the conditions and match situation can change at any given moment.
“When it gets flat in Australia, Cook will need to think out of the box and be a little bit more imaginative, but he has always responded to criticism in a positive manner,” Hussain said. “When people doubted him as a one-day player, he went away and scored thousands of one-day runs and proved people wrong. He’s the sort of guy that when challenged, goes out and proves people wrong, not in a showman way, but in his own conservative, stubborn way that wins Test matches.”