Cook’s Opener Dilemma

Posted: Tuesday, September 4, 2012 by Celia in Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

With the retirement of Andrew Strauss comes a great opportunity for new England captain, Alastair Cook.

The left-hander now rules both Test and one-day squads and is set for a gruelling next couple of years, as England restructure their squads after a period of world dominance.

Cook’s first job is to prepare England for a tough tour of India, where he will walk out to the crease with a new partner. Until November, the captain will have a serious problem reeling through the back of his mind: who will replace Strauss at the top of the Test order?

With Strauss now gone from the Test squad, England suddenly look quite lightweight at the crease.

Cook was magnificent against Australia in the last Ashes series and has proven himself as a reliable starter, yet he has been gifted the chance to learn the art of opening a Test innings alongside one of England’s greatest ever captains.

Now, without Strauss, Cook must lead the line and bring in a partner up top. Calls for Ian Bell or Jonathan Trott to ascend the batting order have been voiced by many people, but these two have cemented good form lower down, and it would be unwise to dislodge them from a position they feel comfortable in.

Cook may therefore look to one of Yorkshire’s two lighting batters, Jonny Bairstow or Joe Root. Bairstow has proven hit mettle in one-dayers and hit a magnificent 95 in the first Test innings against South Africa at Lord’s, but was playing at a comfortable sixth man.

A step up could unsettle the Yorkshireman, however, and therefore Cook may opt for Root, who has a 40.57 first class average.

Root has done well at Headingley this season and continues to show good form with the bat. Although India would be a baptism of fire for the 21-year-old to make his Test debut, Cook’s experienced presence may well see him develop into another great England opener.