Alastair Cook’s captaincy has come under severe criticism after England suffered a 0-4 drubbing at the hands of India and former skipper Michael Vaughan feels that the team now needs the opening batsman’s power and runs at the top of the order rather than his leadership.
“When you are captain, and the team is losing, you do not enjoy the game. It drags you down. You wake up in the morning not really wanting to go out and play. Cook somehow has to rediscover that zest and energy to play the game. The team need his power and runs at the top of the order more than his leadership,” Vaughan wrote in his column in ‘Daily Telegraph’.
Vaughan also believes that it is high time that Cook sit down and ask himself if he is the right man to lead the team.
“Nobody can accuse him of not giving everything. But to pick up a Test team that is on a losing streak to take on South Africa and the West Indies next summer, and then to Australia, he has to be absolutely committed to being captain. He has to sit down and ask himself is he the man to energise this England side for seven Test matches in the summer and win the Ashes down under or has he taken it as far as he can?
“If he feels he is the man to lead them next year then he needs to bring together that core group of players who appear in all formats and ask them to drive the team in a different direction. He can’t have any inkling he wants to go. He can’t suddenly lose the first Test against South Africa in July and think ‘oh no what have I done? Why have I carried on?'”
42-year-old former cricketer said England have been playing their worse cricket under Cook.
“Will the England team play any better or worse if he goes? I can’t see how they can play worse. It is not just this defeat. They have been playing like this for a while. Cook cannot have enjoyed his cricket this year. It has been an incredibly tough year for the Test team,” said Vaughan.
He said that the same intensity and positive approach that coach Trevor Bayliss has instilled in the ODI team has to be put into the England Test team also.
“I am worried a lot of our eggs are going into the one-day basket. We are not a good enough team to focus on just one or the other. We have to keep our eye very closely on all formats of the game because if we let one of them drift we will be found out, like we have in Test cricket this year.”
Vaughan said nobody expected England to win the series in India but they should have showed the mental toughness.
“Mental toughness is sometimes playing the way the game dictates even if it is against your natural instincts. Mental toughness is fighting through tiring times, and staying the distance and keeping performance levels up to the end of the fifth day of the last Test of a series,” he insisted.
“In seven of their last eight series England have lost the last match. When you reach the last day of the series and have two sessions to bat out with 10 wickets in hand, the mentally tough thing to do is play the situation and game in front of you. Just see out the Test.
“In India they consistently collapsed or produced soft dismissals, and the excuse was made that England do not have a world class spinner. It is nothing to do with not having a world class spinner if you can’t bat out the last two sessions of the day with 10 wickets in hand,” said Vaughan.
Over the last two years England have lost 14 times and Vaughan explained: “Tactically England went on the defensive too soon. Go back to the last day at Rajkot when they batted slowly instead of trying to set a target, or the first night in Vizag when they did not attack enough with the second new ball, or the last innings in that match when they blocked and blocked. Those mistakes were nothing to do with the lack of a world class spinner.”