Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Former England batsman Kevin Pietersen has announced that Alastair Cook is still captain due to the “politics” of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).
Pietersen also pointed out that the ECB have “backed him so much that it would be yet another PR disaster if [they] sacked him now”.
“At the moment only politics are keeping Cook in a job because the England and Wales Cricket Board backed him so much that it would be yet another PR disaster if [they] sacked him now,” Pietersen wrote in his column for The Telegraph. “But the ECB needs his runs back more than anything else so a big decision has to be made. Forget the bad headlines for once.
“[Cook] should do what is right for England and resign the captaincy. He has shown he does not have the tactical brain to lead the side.”
Pietersen also noted that Cook will find it even harder to lead the national team now that he has “lost his right-hand man in Matt Prior”.
Prior took a break from international cricket in order to have his Achilles surgically repaired.
“The hardest issue for him [Cook] to deal with is concerns over his tactical expertise,” Pietersen wrote. “His batting has been under the microscope before. He knows how to deal with that. But captaincy is different, especially now he has lost his right-hand man in Matt Prior. Cook needs people with experience of international cricket around him, which Peter Moores and Paul Farbrace lack.”
Pietersen also advised Cook to start taking the attack to the Indian bowlers more often so that they know he means business.
“He is 6ft 3in and a strong, stocky guy. He should be batting like Matthew Hayden,” Pietersen wrote. “He should not stand there and let medium pacers bowl him half-volleys all day long and get him out.
“Someone of his size, strength, ability and with his eye should be hitting half-volleys for four all day.
“Look at Cook’s head when he is nicking off at the moment. It is above or behind his front knee. He is not heading down the ground and a strong guy like that opening the innings with a build like Hayden should be hitting the ball straight. The cover drive is the easiest shot in the world to play. Every kid can do it so why not someone as talented as Cook? Batting is all about hitting balls in straight lines. A guy who has scored 25 Test hundreds can change his game slightly and start driving off the front foot.”
The South African-born batsman added that Cook needs to start listening to his critics instead of brushing them aside.
“How many ex-international players have England had recently working with them? None,” he wrote. “There is so much knowledge in English cricket going to waste.
“There are so many great cricket brains in the Sky studios. Put that radio in your ear, listen to them on the balcony or in the dressing room and Mike Atherton, Nasser Hussain, Warne or whoever could be saying something you didn’t know and could implement in the game.”
If Cook starts regaining his form and listening to the advice he is given, Pietersen sees no reason as to why the 29-year-old cannot play for another 10 years.
“He could have another 10 years left but his batting requires emergency help and he needs to speak to someone away from the England set-up,” Pietersen said. “He has to be honest with himself.
“I had an issue with left-arm spin so went to seek advice from others. I spoke to Indians, the best players of spin in the world, and asked them how I could solve it. I spoke to people in the Indian Premier League, spent hours on the phone and communicated via email with coaches and players.
“England badly miss Cook the opening batsman scoring 150 to set games up at the top of the order and, relieved of the captaincy, I don’t think it is too late for him to rediscover this form.”