Stephen Brenkley: Look beyond all the sniping and Alastair Cook’s one-day record is still creditable

Of the 17 men to have led England, only three have a better win record

Every morning that Alastair Cook wakes up someone or other is telling him why he is not fit to be captain of England.

For most of the early part of the summer this related to the leadership of the Test team. Having put that one to bed by conducting an unlikely revival against India, he is now being derided for his style, or lack of it, as the captain in the 50-over version. The word in the world of punditry on a rain-soaked day at Bristol on Monday was that Cook does not have what it takes as either batsman or captain and should now step aside to concentrate on Tests.

He has been this way before. When he was first elevated to the one-day captaincy in 2011, having not played for the side for most of the previous three years, it was greeted with wide scepticism. Cook responded with 10 scores above fifty in 19 innings, four of which he converted into hundreds.

Last summer, he helped to engineer the team’s progress to the final of the Champions Trophy, for most of which England looked a classy, assured bunch who knew exactly what they were about. They beat Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, undaunted on each occasion by the reputation of several members of the opposition for belting the ball into the stratosphere.

Since then, it has all begun to unravel, partly because they were throwing away matches they ought to have won. Cook’s record as captain still stands reasonable comparison with any of his predecessors. Of the 17 men to have led the team 10 or more times, only three have a better win percentage than Cook – the Mikes, Gatting, Brearley and Denness – and they really were different days back then.

Cook is said to have insufficient speed of thought and response in the fast-moving game of the 21st century. For good reasons, many like the cut of Eoin Morgan’s jib. But Cook has led this team in 59 matches and so close to another World Cup there is no earthly chance of a change.

The pundits, led by Michael Vaughan and Graeme Swann know this. Vaughan, a magnificently opinionated commentator, also knows how Cook feels. He was a captain who insisted on his one-day credentials in the face of the evidence, though he had precisely no one-day hundreds to Cook’s five.

Cook’s batting strike rate as captain is 81.89 runs per 100 balls, acceptable even by the era’s standards. There seems to be a desire outside the selection room to pack the team with sluggers on the grounds that one or two are bound to come off.

England may actually have it right as long as the totals to which they aspire are based on conditions on the day, not some statistical database. The plan is to backload the innings after a solid start with Joe Root, Morgan and Jos Buttler all scoring at a lick.

The omission of Ravi Bopara seems more startling by the day. But the overdue move to promote Alex Hales to open with Cook also gives much-needed latitude for spectacular rapidity at the top. England almost certainly will not win the World Cup but the failure will not be down to the presence of Cook.

News
Denny Miller in 1959 remake of Tarzan, the Ape Man
people
Arts and Entertainment
Cheryl despairs during the arena auditions
tvX Factor review: Drama as Cheryl and Simon spar over girl band

News
Piers Morgan tells Scots they might not have to suffer living on the same island as him if they vote ‘No’ to Scottish Independence
news
News
i100Exclusive interview with the British analyst who helped expose Bashar al-Assad's use of Sarin gas
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Angel Di Maria celebrates his first goal for Manchester United against QPR
Football4-0 victory is team's first win under new manager Louis van Gaal
Arts and Entertainment
art
News
newsIn short, yes
Arts and Entertainment
Rob James-Collier, who plays under-butler Thomas Barrow, admitted to suffering sleepless nights over the Series 5 script
tv'Thomas comes right up to the abyss', says the actor
Arts and Entertainment
Calvin Harris claimed the top spot in this week's single charts
music
Sport
BoxingVideo: The incident happened in the very same ring as Tyson-Holyfield II 17 years ago
News
Groundskeeper Willie has backed Scottish independence in a new video
people
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor poses the question of whether we are every truly alone in 'Listen'
tvReview: Possibly Steven Moffat's most terrifying episode to date
News
i100
Life and Style
Cara Delevigne at the TopShop Unique show during London Fashion Week
fashion
News
The life-sized tribute to Amy Winehouse was designed by Scott Eaton and was erected at the Stables Market in Camden
peopleBut quite what the singer would have made of her new statue...
Sport
England's Andy Sullivan poses with his trophy and an astronaut after winning a trip to space
sport
News
peopleThe actress has agreed to host the Met Gala Ball - but not until 2015
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week
The fall of Rome? Cash-strapped Italy accused of selling its soul to the highest bidder

The fall of Rome?

Italy's fears that corporate-sponsored restoration projects will lead to the Disneyfication of its cultural heritage
Glasgow girl made good

Glasgow girl made good

Kelly Macdonald was a waitress when she made Trainspotting. Now she’s taking Manhattan
Sequins ahoy as Strictly Come Dancing takes to the floor once more

Sequins ahoy as Strictly takes to the floor once more

Judy Murray, Frankie Bridge and co paired with dance partners
Wearable trainers and other sporty looks

Wearable trainers and other sporty looks

Alexander Wang pumps it up at New York Fashion Week
The landscape of my imagination

The landscape of my imagination

Author Kate Mosse on the place that taught her to tell stories