Before the Ashes started the majority of people were saying that Alastair Cook should relinquish the England captaincy but he has proven all the doubters wrong.
Alastair led the team extremely well and out-captained Australia skipper Michael Clarke in the same way that Clarke out-captained him during the whitewash series in 2013-14.
I was part of the England squad that series and felt his tactics were bland, so it was great to see Cookie using his imagination. Even the declaration at Trent Bridge when Australia had taken nine wickets; I cannot remember an England captain doing that for ages.
His flexibility and initiative is far removed from the start of his tenure. I felt he started poorly as captain but he seems to have grown in confidence. When he’s talking to the media, for instance, he doesn’t go into his shell anymore or duck the tough questions.
He has earned the right to carry on as skipper and if Alastair is scoring runs and England are climbing the Test rankings, there is no reason at all why things need to change.
But Alastair has a say in things too. I’m sure he will have personal goals. He is only 30 years old and has played over 100 Test matches. He is England’s leading Test run-scorer of all-time and he could extend that record by thousands and thousands of runs.
It also boils down to how long he wants the burden of captaincy. I would like to see how things progress over the next year or so for Alastair and England, and then the powers that be take things from there.
His captaincy skills will be severely tested when England face Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates in the autumn and South Africa in the winter. I recall going to the UAE with England in 2012 and we got absolutely thrashed.
It will be a massive challenge in non-English conditions. The resurgence of Cook’s captaincy also has a knock-on benefit. I have no doubt that Joe Root, currently England’s vice-captain, will lead his country at some stage down the line, but now is too soon.
Before the Ashes there was a clamour for Root, 24, to be promoted, but giving him that level of responsibility now would be a mistake. Joe isn’t going anywhere, let him concentrate on his batting for now – he is flying at the moment.
Joe looks to be a cheeky chappy in the dressing room, a new Graeme Swann almost. He likes a laugh and joke and to hang around with the lads. In some senses he is a bit immature, as he would be at that age.
When you’re captain, you have to divert yourself away from the rest of the group a little bit and can’t necessarily get involved in those sorts of things quite as much.
Let Joe have fun and continue to top the Test batting rankings. Then, in a few years or whenever his time comes to lead England, he will be a more rounded individual who also has a huge weight of runs behind him.
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