Cook sacked as ODI captain

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:

That damn spellcheck…


  • Absolutely the right decision. Shocked and amazed that the management have actually muddled through to making it. Still don’t think we have much chance to make a big impact, but its a start.

  • Now we await the bluster and confusion
    From the ECB and their press buddies in collusion
    Awaiting the twists of their nonsensical trysts
    Sating their self loving illusions
    With hindsight in ignorance of their previous ass-kissed provings
    So come out now with the truth
    You lost written press, so uncouth
    Now you been found out
    Withered be, your self imposed clout
    Thus we laugh at last….;)

  • One down
    to Downtown to go
    Then Giles defiled
    And Mooresthepity to flow
    Away then with the Flower
    We spy his hard-eyed glower
    So then they all fall
    Too many Cooks with vegetable brains
    Sadly, the dim-sun song will remain the same…
    But now let’s cast
    Our net further to the blind fervour
    Of the press under duress
    Switch-hits expected
    Allegiancies defected
    Bullsh!t in negativity, collectively – resign

  • Right decision, made far too late.

    Whether Morgan is the right choice to replace Cook is an interesting question given his recent form. What probably tipped the balance against (say) Root is that Morgan is never going to be a contender for the test captaincy…

  • About time, long long long overdue, i think by this time next year his test career will be over too.

  • Best news ever as an England supporter. We can enjoy the odi team again. Cook won’t last long in the test team as both nz and oz will bowl at 4th stump. Au revoir my little cookie xxx

    • Peter, As this now the place for Shakespeare , I wonder if Cook said to Downton et al. : –

      I’ll fight to the end. I’ll put up my shield and battle you. Come on, let’s go at it, Macduff, and damn the first man who cries, ‘Stop! Enough!’

      Those, I see Cook as more a man in the Rosencrantz and Guilderstern Role though.

    • “To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
      Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
      To the last syllable of recorded time;
      And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
      The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
      Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player,
      That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
      And then is heard no more. It is a tale
      Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
      Signifying nothing…”

      Says it better.
      Cook’s batting rate; the selectors approach to life in general; the tragic outcome….
      it’s all there.

  • “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?”

    Nice use of the rhetorical question there :)

    Thank God for that, anyway. Go Moggie!!

  • According to Downton in his press interview early in the week this decision was going to be made today. Yet, if you read many of this mornings newspapers it was clear that this decision had already been taken. Numerous writers said that Cook was going to be removed. Including some of his staunchest defenders. So …..

    1 Who has actually taken this decision? It doesn’t appear to have been made today.

    2 I remind readers that on this very blog in the summer John Etheridge stated that the ECB doesn’t leak.

    As usual with the ECB it is always chaos and confusion even when they make the right decision.

  • Make no mistake, Downton and Clarke made that decision, not the selectors. When Downton said he would be surprised if Cook was not captain at WC, I knew Cook was going and it would be portrayed as selectors. I believe it would have been money orientated. No one wants to sponsor a team that loses consistently. If Clarke is after a knighthood, the past year would not bode well. They have destroyed Cook and I can’t see him recovering from this humiliation. It was the right decision but again subterfuge from the ECB, will they never learn?

    I will raise strong objections to Clarke getting a Knighthood. They should be given to people who deserve it.

  • I’m not going to read the papers in the morning. I just want to remember this moment, without the self-justificatory quotes from selectors, managers and coaches; without the bad new about leaks meaning that the ECB hasn’t changed; without the naysayers talking about Morgan’s average in 2014. Without the reality of the team intruding.
    No matter what happens in the World Cup, we’ll always have tonight.

  • Let’s wait and see if Cook’s still in the squad as a batsman before we start celebrating too hard. I can see Downton demanding a compromise of sorts. Unlikely but nothing the ECB does will surprise me.

    • How about dropping him down the order and reinventing him as ‘the finisher’? I’ve just watched Tom Latham perform that role for NZ and they won. Thirimanne does the same for SL.

      I’ve actually seen people on other threads seriously suggesting this.


      • Given his writing to date, that article is pretty rich.

        A significant number of critics who will now claim that they were of course right all along, said that Cook should never have been England’s one-day captain in the first place. He was neither savvy enough as a tactician nor sufficiently versatile as a batsman.

        Well, yes, those critics (of which you, Brenkley, are not one), would be entirely right.

        I can understand that he’s bitter – it hurts when you’re a cheerleader and the regime surrenders.

  • The delicious irony is its now the turn of the pro Cook people to turn on the ECB. Just heard Harmison on BBC 5 live. He is furious with the ECB because of “all the punches Alastair has taken on behalf of Downton and the ECB, and now having taken all this they drop him on the eve of the World Cup.”

    I said in the summer that when Cook was of no further use to them he would be dumped. Not many of these people had much sympathy about KP when he was dumped. Suddenly they think the ECB is a nasty group of people. I can’t help but have a wry smile.

      • Oh but they are all turning on the ECB now. Etheridge is saying they can’t announce it officially now because nobody has asked Morgan if he wants the job. He is fast asleep, oblivious to the fact he is the New England captain.


  • The goal should not be to win global tournaments. For me, being ranked no. 1 in the world in ODIs (or any format of the game) for long periods at a time is a much bigger achievement than winning any one-off tournament. You don’t judge who’s the greatest team of an era by who won the World Cup in what year; you judge it by who takes the no. 1 ranking and holds it for the longest period(s) of time during that era.

    Secondly, if we do want to start winning WCs, the best way to do that is to become the consistently best limited-overs side in the world, playing aggressively and ruthlessly ALL THE TIME, both in WCs and between them. The only reason we don’t do this already is because of a massive cultural prejudice in the ECB (and a large section of England fans) against limited-overs cricket. I’ve never understood it…

    • I agree with what you say about the rankings but limited over cricket has never had that much appeal for me. The demands of test cricket together with its ebb and flow is what absorbs me. It’s the real thing. Limited overs cricket can fill a gap and be exciting in the short term, but that’s about all. It also contributes to the over burdening of the schedule and with top players being rested can give poor value for money.

      • Perfect example of the prejudice I talked about.

        Like Test cricket, limited-overs cricket is only rewarding for fans when it’s played well. Limited-overs cricket won’t be exciting for England fans until England start playing it properly (for the first time). But for the ECB to make that happen, England fans have to start caring about limited-overs cricket FIRST and then pressure the ECB into taking the necessary steps (getting Eng players into the IPL, stop picking Test players for the limited-overs teams, etc.). The revolution has to start from the grassroots. The only alternative is that Eng stay a bad limited-overs side forever.

        If you don’t believe limited-overs games can be thrilling, watch at any match the IPL (for T20s), or look at the recent thriller ODI series between Aus/SA and Pak/NZ. In fact, even the solitary T20 between Eng/Ind in August was a proper nail-biter, going down to the last 2-3 balls.

        Having said all that, I think most international limited-overs series are too long. 3-4 games should be the maximum, not 7 like the last Eng/SL series.


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