x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Real test of England cricket captain Alastair Cook starts now

How the opening batsman reacts to his team's recent batting woes in the one-day international series in India will be interesting.

Alastair Cook, the England captain, has a batting problem. Amit Dave / Reuters
Alastair Cook, the England captain, has a batting problem. Amit Dave / Reuters

They say all good things must come to an end, and that appears to be what has happened with Alastair Cook and his honeymoon period as the England captain.

Two dismal batting displays in a row in the one-day series with India have demonstrated that Cook's England are mortal after all, and there are problems that need to be urgently addressed.

England have struggled in the 50 over version of the game for a long while now, so getting two successive batterings is nothing new.

For all the problems India are going through at present, and there are many, they are still the world champions, so there is no disgrace, on paper at least, in being beaten by MS Dhoni's men.

But India's level was demonstrated by Pakistan's excellent series win there, and the fact that England have been outclassed with bat and ball in both Kochi and Ranchi is a real wake up call.

Cook has criticised the batting and the fact no one scored higher than 42 in the last two matches is poor.

The innings were contrasting situations but were equally dismal. In Kochi a difficult, but not impossible, run chase was the challenge. In Ranchi, it was batting first, setting a target, but collapsing to such an extent it was a good effort to last 42 overs.

Cook is not the first captain to have to deal with a misfiring batting line-up, and he certainly won't be the last, but this is the first test of his leadership.

It is going to be fascinating to see if he can have any effect on his teammates' questionable shot selection in the coming week.

gcaygill@thenational.ae

twitter Follow us @SprtNationalUAE