England’s Cook to discover one-day fate

England captain Alastair Cook is set to find out if he will be skippering the side at next year’s World Cup when the selectors announce on Wednesday their squad to play seven one-day internationals in Sri Lanka.

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If, as seems likely, Cook is confirmed as skipper for the tour of Sri Lanka, which takes place in November and December, it is hard to see how, barring injury, he won’t also lead England at the one-day World Cup in Australia and New Zealand in February and March.

Much of the speculation in the build-up to the squad announcement has focused on whether Cook is the right man to lead England as they go in search of their first World Cup title.

The left-handed opening batsman faced questions throughout all of England’s recent home campaign but answered his Test critics by leading the side to a 3-1 series win over India following a defeat by Sri Lanka.

However, doubts remain about his suitability for white-ball cricket following a 3-1 one-day international series loss to world champions India that included several thumping defeats.

The major criticism of left-handed opener Cook, an orthodox Test batsman, as a one-day cricketer is that he scores too slowly at the top of of the order in terms of what is now required in modern limited overs internationals.

His critics point to an strike rate of under 80 as proof of Cook’s unsuitability for 50-over cricket.

Former England off-spinner Graeme Swann, a friend of Cook’s, was damning in his assessment last month.

“If he (Cook) truly believes England can win this World Cup…I am the greatest patriot there is but we do not have a cat in hell’s chance,” Swann said.

“I love Cooky totally, but I do not think he should be bothering playing one-day cricket any more.”

But while England have found a more aggressive first-wicket partner for Cook in Alex Hales, there is no obvious replacement for the skipper as an opener, although middle-order batsmen Joe Root and Eoin Morgan have both been suggested as alternative captains.

Posted by at 25/04/2019
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