Cook has to step up with the bat sooner rather than later, says Steve Waugh

"If you have to take a break from captaincy, you don't come back, so it's a do-or-die situation"

“If you have to take a break from captaincy, you don’t come back, so it’s a do-or-die situation”

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

Legendary Australia captain Steve Waugh has announced that England skipper Alastair Cook has to step up with the bat sooner rather than later.

Waugh’s comments come after Cook only managed to score 37 runs at a horrendous average of 12.33 in the first two Tests against India.

“If you have to take a break from captaincy, you don’t come back, so it’s a do-or-die situation,” Waugh told ESPNcricinfo. “I think deep down he knows himself it’s affecting his cricket. I am sure he will [now] sit down with the selectors and work out some sort of plan. Is it affecting your captaincy? Do you want a break from captaincy? Do you need a break from batting? He hasn’t scored a lot of runs of late. I personally think England need him as a batsman. The captaincy, they have got to work out if he is the best man for the job.”

Waugh also noted that Cook can turn England’s fortunes around if regains his form with the bat.

“When you are scoring runs, it makes the job a lot easier,” he said. “My only advice to Ricky Ponting when I passed over the captaincy was ‘Make sure your game is in good shape, then it’s a lot easier to captain your team’.

“When you are captaining your country and you are scoring runs, you go in with a free mind. When you are not scoring runs, you worry about bowling changes, then worry about where I am going to score next runs. It does go hand-in-hand. Good captaincy normally goes along with people scoring runs.”

When asked who he thought would win the ongoing series between India and England, Waugh stated that it all depends on which captain performed better.

“I think Dhoni has had some really good results in the last couple of years. He seems to have the magic touch especially when it comes to winning big games and he knows what to do,” Waugh said. “But right now, both Dhoni and Cook are under pressure to get a win in England. Whoever wins this series will be known as a fantastic captain and whoever loses the series, his captaincy will be under a lot of pressure.”

However, in Waugh’s eyes, Australia captain Michael Clarke is the best leader in the game right now.

“Right now, Michael Clarke has done a fantastic job in taking Australia from No. 5 to No. 1, so he is probably the best captain in the world at the moment,” he said.

Waugh also lauded newly appointed South Africa skipper Hashim Amla for leading his side to a brilliant win over Sri Lanka in the first Test in Galle.

“They obviously rate him very highly. De Villiers looked like the obvious choice and then Amla came in and got the job,” Waugh said. “He started off as a batsman who you weren’t sure whether he is going to be good enough to become the world’s best batsman, so he knows how to be a disciplinarian. He works things around, has some plans.

“He seems nice, relaxed, calm out there. Having a victory in Sri Lanka is a great start to his Test [captaincy] career. So he may well be a man who is totally suited for the job.”

Waugh added that he felt honoured to be interacting with and teaching children at the Magic Bus Learning and Development Centre in Raigad, which is located near Mumbai.

In fact, helping children is something Waugh has been heavily involved in since he retired in 2004, especially through his own charity, the Steve Waugh Foundation.

“I love to see kids get opportunities to make the best of what they have got,” he said. “The activities that Magic Bus runs here in conjunction with Laureus is fantastic. My own charity in Australia to keep kids free of diseases and of course, I am involved with Udayan in Kolkata. At the end of the day, it’s about giving kids opportunities that sometimes we in Australia take for granted because we have such a great lifestyle.”

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