Cook 6/4 to step down as captain

Published by on December 21, 2016

Alastair Cook is being tipped to stand down as England captain in 2017 after his side’s abysmal 4-0 thrashing in India.

The visitors’ abject bowling and penchant for batting collapses has left the skipper with some serious thinking to do.

Former captain Michael Vaughan expects the Essex man to step aside, telling BBC Sport:

“His body language over the last three matches was one where he looks like he might be thinking of calling it a day.

“He’s earned that right to have a period of time at home. We’ll wait and see.

“He’s stubborn and mentally very tough. He’s been through this sort of spell two or three times in his captaincy and carried on.

“But he has to be very honest with himself. Does he have the passion and energy to take the team forward through the seven Tests next summer? And then through the Ashes next winter?

“If the answer is just 1% no, then he has to stand aside.

“Towards the end of my captaincy, I just was not enjoying the game. I could see from his face he just is not enjoying cricket.

“I would think it’s very close to being the time to call it quits from his perspective.”

Vaughan will know exactly what Cook is going through, but what do the bookies say about the likelihood that England are going to be selecting a new captain very soon?

Ladbrokes have Cook stepping down at 6/4 after such a humiliating 12 months in charge.

There appears to be no doubt about who’s going to succeed him either, with Joe Root at 1/25. There’s little point even putting money on the Yorkshireman, though the ECB’s one major concern might be that they can’t afford for the armband to affect their best batsman’s scores as it has done so often.

Root won England Test Cricketer of the Year in 2015 which would on paper make him an excellent candidate, but it may be up to how the player himself feels about taking it on, and he will need to sit down with Andrew Strauss to discuss it.

The outsiders being offered are Jonny Bairstow at 10/1 and Ben Stokes at 33/1, though questions have to be asked whether Bairstow’s a natural leader.

Elsewhere, it might take a little longer to come in, but Ladbrokes are also offering Keaton Jennings to captain his country at some point in his career, which is at 5/1. The South African-born batsman only debuted against India, scoring a century in his first innings and struggling thereafter.