So… let’s revisit once again the debacle, the disgrace, that is Alastair Cook’s continued presence in the England test team. I’m sorry to go on about this, but enough truly is enough. It is keeping me awake at night.
Let’s put aside the brazen cowardice, the utter contempt for the county game and its many players as shown by the ECB, now rivaling the FA as the most incompetent, spineless, dismally weak of all our nation’s sporting bodies.
Let’s take a moment to look at the statistics. Disraeli may well have been right when talking about damned lies and statistics, but this simply cannot extend to cricket, where the stats are there for all to see. There simply can be no other way to measure one’s fitness to play test cricket. The fact he is tall, has long eyelashes and volunteers to field short leg, simply will not do, Ashley Giles.
Firstly, the feeble justification from that hired goon Geoff Miller:
"Alastair's a battler and he'll battle his way through it. We back our players and we want them to continue on the road that they're on. They're playing really well having won six matches on the trot. We've got a series to win, and now is not the right time to be making drastic changes."
Geoff is probably right, to be fair. Now is indeed not the time to be making changes. That time was July 2009, when it became very clear to all but the tedious ex-player commentators and the absurd selection panel, that Cook was not up to test cricket at the highest level, even if he could fill his boots against village Bangladesh/Windies bowling.
So Cook is a battler? Bottler more like. And anyone can be positioned as a battler if they are given chance after chance to score runs, as Cook has. Jesus, what about Hick, Ramprakash, Bopara, Shah? Imagine how they must be feeling, watching Cook scratch away time after time, clearly way out of his depth, just cos the selectors like him. A battler indeed – what a load of patronising bullshit. I feel personally insulted and may well have to take this to court for hurt feelings. So the team has to carry a patently outclassed opening batsman because they keep winning? They are winning despite, not because of Cook. He is a drag on the team, a weak link in a strong chain. He is the reason we will lose the ashes again.
Next: “we back our players”. Translation: “we will just keep on digging, as Cook will never, ever be dropped”. They didn’t back Carberry did they? Nor did they back Darren Pattinson (I use him only as an example of crap selection and completely inconsistent selection policies, not because he should have played test cricket – indeed his selection actually had me questioning my love of the game, so insulting was it). But when it comes to Cook, they back him?
Next:”we’ve a series to win”. Geoff, the series is already won, you tool. It is mind boggling he could say all this with a straight face.
On to the stats:
Overall, Cook’s test averages are still just about acceptable: 4238 runs at 42.80.
However, we need to look a little deeper.
V Australia: 498 at 26.2
V India: 527 at 40.5
V Bangladesh: 401 at 66.8
V Windies: 991 at 61.9
Spot the pattern?
In an astonishing calculation, if you take away the runs he has scored against Bangladesh and Windies, his average (including taking into account for not outs etc.) drops to 36.9.
How about from the beginning of the last Ashes? 951 runs at 36.6.
And in 2010 alone? 584 at 41.4, which includes an astonishing 401 at 66.8 v the mighty Bangladesh.
These stats point to a player NOT UP TO TEST cricket. There can be no debate. No wish to “support” players. No argument whatsoever. It is perfectly clear that Cook has unfairly been singled out for selection, at the expense of other, better players. Using the language of the playground, it is simply not fair. Cook is very clearly, undroppable. How on earth can this be allowed to happen? It actually beggars belief. At test level, a player is being selected in the hope he may score runs, when the evidence does not just stack up. It is beyond bemusing – it is an affront to the game and to national sport.
As I have stated previously, I can see Cook scoring runs at the next test – the law of averages simply says he has to. But it will only be in the first innings of the test – he will fail again in the second, but the media (and the selectors) will be all over it with slavish, orgasmic delight claiming “he was always going to come good… a man of his caliber is too good to fail” etc when in fact he has been failing for over 2 years.