Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
England captain Alastair Cook, who has been bombarded with criticisms during and after his team lost their two-Test series against Sri Lanka, has received support from two unlikely people, India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and India head coach Duncan Fletcher.
Dhoni noted that every player goes through a rough period and added that people should not be so quick to criticise Cook.
“A bad phase is something that everybody goes through. You just need to back players at the right point,” Dhoni said. “When you’re getting those big hundreds and double hundreds everybody will be on your side. The real test of character is when your fans or when the media and team-mates are supporting you when you’re not doing well.”
Fletcher reminisced about how former Australia captain Mark Taylor failed to score a half-century in 21 innings during the mid-90s.
“For however long he’s (Cook) struggled, give me one player who hasn’t been through that period for that length of time,” Fletcher said. “I remember Mark Taylor. How long did he not get a run for? Australia kept him on as captain. He went through a big period where he didn’t get any – and they kept him. It’s as simple as that.”
Fletcher, who used to be England’s head coach, also recalled why he had brought Cook to India for his debut Test match in 2006.
“There were two things that struck me. Firstly, I thought he was a very intelligent cricketer who understood the game,” Fletcher said. “I remember talking in one of the very first team meetings he came to, he’d just been flown across from the West Indies, and for a young player we asked about someone and he quite confidently stood up and said ‘this player does this and this player does that’. There are very few players who are prepared to commit to something like that at such an early stage in the England squad.
“The next thing was that I think he’s a very determined individual. He’s very, very determined which I think most opening bats have to be. In fact if you have a look at batters and pick them on their mental aspect one of them would be that they have to be determined and stubborn. And I think Alastair’s got that.
“He’s proved with the runs that he’s got that’s he’s a very, very good opening batter. I agree with MS that too many people are quite happy to knock you off your pedestal and when you go through those bad times times, keep knocking them. That’s when you need their support.”