Mike Atherton suggests split captaincy as way forward for England

England have lost their past four series at home and have won only two out of the past 10 one-day series.

By: Press Trust of India | Birmingham | Published: September 4, 2014 4:44:40 pm
Alastair Cook (Source: Reuters) Alastair Cook has been successful in Tests but with the World Cup nearing the ODI format needs to be addressed as well.  (Source: Reuters)

Slamming the team’s decision-making and selections, former captain Mike Atherton has said split captaincy between Test and one-day cricket is an obvious way forward for England.

“England’s decision-making over the last cycle, though, is still based on the historical: selections are made through the prism of Test cricket. The captaincy is a case in point.

My arguments against Alastair Cook were made three years ago at the time of his appointment and so I cannot be accused of being a Johnny-come-lately on this front,” Atherton said in his column in The Times.

Arguing that next year, England play 17 Test matches between April and December, Atherton said: “It is impossible for one man to give the same amount of energy and attention to detail to two forms of the game under that kind of scheduling pressure. Split captaincy between Test and one-day cricket is an obvious way forward.”

Noting that the traditional rule of thumb has always been that if you can play Test cricket you can play all forms of the game, Atherton said that may still hold true but two things have changed – the ferocity and unforgiving nature of modern schedules – which means that it is harder to excel at both or all three forms.

Emphasising the divergence in the Test and T20 forms of cricket, Atherton said the bowling rankings confirm just how divergent and separate these forms of the game have become.

“Of the top ten bowlers in Test cricket, eight are quick bowlers. In Twenty20, nine of the top ten are spinners, mainly the so-called mystery spinners such as Sunil Narine and Saeed Ajmal.

The extreme differences between these two lists suggest that Test cricket and Twenty20 have, like rugby and rugby sevens, become completely different games,” the former England captain said.

“Fifty-over cricket hovers in the middle. Sangakkara and Amla are among the top ten-ranked one-day international (ODI) players, as are batsmen such as Kohli, Quinton de Kock and Shikhar Dhawan, who helped to put England to the sword on Tuesday at Edgbaston.

Increasingly the power and dynamism showed by Dhawan, as he cut and carved England into oblivion, feels closer to Twenty20 than Test cricket,” he said.

Atherton said one cannot hope to fashion a World Cup-winning outfit in five months.

Noting that England are fifth in the world on merit, they have not won a home series in one-day cricket since June 2012, England have lost their past four series at home and have won only two out of the past 10 one-day series that they have

“When some pundits have said they have no chance in New Zealand and Australia, they have been stating the obvious. Only the public’s expectations have made those claims sound shrill,” Artherton said.

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