Alastair Cook has been dropped as captain of the England one-day team ahead of next year's World Cup.More follows pic.twitter.com/3WuOCXdPtH
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) December 19, 2014
I’ll be updating this post over the course of the evening to follow reaction, so hit the ‘refresh’ key.
Update, 5.20pm: Nick Hoult is reporting that:
Eoin Morgan is now set to lead the side for the tri-series in Australia after Christmas and then the World Cup in February. Cook will now concentrate on captaining the Test side and England’s bid to regain the Ashes next summer.
Gary Ballance, the Yorkshire batsman, is likely to replace Cook in the England squad that played in Sri Lanka with Moeen Ali and Alex Hales set to form an opening partnership with the potential to be as devastating as the best in world cricket.
On Cricinfo, David Hopps has this:
England’s selectors have affirmed their right to choose in the face of strong expressions of loyalty towards Cook by the managing director of England cricket, Paul Downton. As recently as Tuesday, Downton, reaffirmed his belief that Cook was England’s natural leader and said he would be very surprised if Cook was not captain at the World Cup.
Bet your bottom dollar that if James Whitaker speaks tomorrow, this will be the rationale he offers, as postulated by Hoult on Wednesday:
The selectors have to weigh up whether or not picking him for the World Cup will overburden him as he faces up to the biggest batting crisis of his career in a year when England will be tested by the world’s best attacks.
There will be no respite in 2015. The England summer starts with a series against the two men who started this process, New Zealand’s Tim Southee and Trent Boult, before Cook faces Australia’s pacemen, then Pakistan in the UAE where England lost 3-0 last time, before four Tests in South Africa against the best attack in the world. A break now from one-day cricket would free Cook to work on his batting.
Maybe I’m being unfair – perhaps the selectors will just admit Cook isn’t good enough and they’d got it wrong till now. Or will they instead orientate everything around what’s best for Cook himself?
Update, 5.40: plenty of reaction over at Dmitri’s, including this from Simon H:
Anyone care to explain how a Managing Director who backs his captain on Monday and sacks him on Friday can not resign? Or, if he won’t resign, be sacked?
One immediate thought springs to mind. As the squad isn’t announced tomorrow, and the ECB “don’t leak”, how has this news miraculously seeped out?
Update, 8.10: thanks for all your comments, and keep them coming. Here’s some reaction from Barney Ronay in the Guardian, as linked to by Nigel below:
For his own good, and certainly for the good of the team, Cook should have been sacked, or rather allowed to leave, in the months that have passed since the concession of the ODI series in Sydney in January. That he was encouraged to stay says a great Della about the fall-out from a horribly disorientating affair for all concerned.
Either way Kevin’s Revenge is not the removal, finally, of Cook from a post that was frankly doing nobody any good. It is the chaos wreaked England’s hopes in the forthcoming World Cup by persevering with a misfiring captain in the name of continuity, loyalty, steadying the ship, proving the factionalists wrong, or whatever – anyone? – the reason was for keeping him in the post.
In the same paper, a sombre Mike Selvey donned his black armband, but found some solace:
Cook meanwhile can spend the next few months reacquainting himself with the techniques of batting that made him into one of England’s most formidable run scorers in Test matches. Far from being a personal disaster for Cook, the decision taken by Whitaker and his fellow selectors may well be the making of him.
Meanwhile, on Twitter:
— MIKE WALTERS (@MikeWaltersMGM) December 19, 2014
"Congratulations, Eoin, you're our new ODI skipper?"
"Can I have KP?"
"Don't push your luck."
— Dave Tickner (@tickerscricket) December 19, 2014
Cook decision actually no brainer tho feel v sorry for him as he gave it everything. What is good is Gary Balance in squad. Top player
— simon hughes (@theanalyst) December 19, 2014
That damn spellcheck…