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September 2009
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Daniel Brigham: Cook cooler than Manilow

September 7th, 2009 by Daniel Brigham in County cricket, England, International, One-day cricket

Alastair Cook should be in England’s one-day team. There, it’s been said. The man who tends to be more excruciating than exhilarating with whites on has changed into his pyjamas and smashed two successive, attractive, run-a-ball, match-winning Pro40 hundreds for Essex. It’s like turning on Radio 1 and finding out that Barry Manilow is suddenly cool.

Those two hundreds aren’t all he’s done to merit inclusion in a misfiring England line-up. His 337 runs at 48.18 in this season’s Twenty20 Cup, with one hundred and two fifties and a mighty impressive strike-rate of 144, suggested that he’s not so one-dimensional after all.

Nasser Hussain talks of Cook reaching a “glass-ceiling” in terms of technique in the current issue of TWC, but while he’s recently struggled in Test matches he appears to have used the shorter game to forget about his problems outside off-stump.

Those problems may well be rectified now: his two successive hundreds have followed a change in technique, with a backlift that allows him to bring the bat down straighter. It’s early days, but the tinkering has paid off immediately, and to watch Cook hit glorious straight drives was to watch a player transformed.

Daniel Brigham is assistant editor of The Wisden Cricketer

Posted in County cricket, England, International, One-day cricket |

11 Responses to “Daniel Brigham: Cook cooler than Manilow”

  1.   The Leading Edge says:

    Cook, like Strauss, is a player you know he’s in form when he starts hitting down the ground. And he was doing that in the last 2 Pro40’s for sure.

    It was very interesting to hear Cook discussing how he has changed his technique: his bat is now coming down dead straight, head straight over the ball in line with bat, actually a bit of front foot movement. I think he may have changed his trigger movement too.

    I disagree with two things though.

    Firstly, Cook should not be in the ODI team. He wouldn’t fit in the same top 6 as Strauss I believe, even if Duncan Fletcher’s hairbrained scheme to get Strauss to bat 4 was implemented. There is no harm in letting him hone his new Hayden-esque batting (his words, not mine) in county cricket before he takes over the mantle of captaincy from Strauss.

    I also disagree that all this is a surprise. Cook has been a promising one-day player for years, and when mixed with his mental strength he was always going to make it in my eyes. He is, after all, extremely young for a player of his experience. Let’s not also forget, he does have an ODI century! He’s not quite the black horse he is painted to be, in my opinion.

    Still though, the two knocks were pretty great, and he certainly has a future as an ODI and Twenty20 player: but he must bide his time.


  2.   Alan Thompson says:

    get out of his backside. Are you really trying to tell me this grinning fool is capable of international one-day cricket? The new Sehwag? The next Gayle?

    Clean your nose!

  3.   Mick Jones says:

    This is the most transparent article ever written.

    Just like whenever Lawro Booth blogs on here you know he’s gonna big up Ian Bell.

    Brigham blogs and lo and behold an Essex players gets a plug.

    Cook should be dropped by all england teams and left at Essex for a minimum 12 months. He needs to get the Damien Martyn/Justing Langer/Matthew Hayden trestment.

    Smashing 100s at Chelmsford means about as much as it did for Ravi at the start of this summer and look how he turned out?

  4.   Derek Smalls says:

    Who is this Brigham chump anyway? I’m guessing some jumped-up Ilford geezah with gay hair and spinning hub-caps on his Ford Capri.

    Cook has the acceleration and game-brain of a dalek … and he needs to be exterminated from all forms, especially Test cricket.

  5.   Daniel Brigham says:

    Smalls, I could only dream of living under the bright lights of Ilford when growing up in Norwich. I’m not sure if my hair is ‘gay’. Probably. I don’t have a drivers’ license but if I did I would definitely drive a Ford Capri, the car of cars.

    Cook is an unimpressive figure who once sat through an interview picking his ears and nose, which turned out to be the most interesting thing he did in 30 minutes. No way is he captaincy material.

    However, his nose-picking doesn’t detract from the fact his technical change has produced two flawless centuries in succession. I didn’t think he should be on the plane to South Africa until I saw these two knocks. Very few people can on-drive as he did in those two matches, let alone Englishmen under the age of 25.

    Do I get an award for writing the Most Transparent Article Ever?

  6.   D Charlton says:

    Daleks are ruthless geniuses. Cook is neither ruthless nor a genius.

    But he can walk upstairs - as you can see as he walks back from the middle after nicking to second slip at The Oval, Lord’s, Old Trafford etc etc.

  7.   Sam Collins says:

    Mick –

    Not sure about Lawro but you’ve got Brigham nailed on.

    Whatever the reason it is inescapable that, like an inverse Jimmy Anderson, Cook’s ODI game has improved while his longer stuff regresses. The shame for Cook is that he’s not able to show it in the England team.

  8.   Mick Jones says:

    The point about Cook looking good is irrelevant. He needs to be taught that its not acceptable to grin your way to 200 runs at 22 and think you’ve arrived.

    It’s time for some Aussie-style ‘tough-love’

  9.   MuffinMan says:

    Wow, runs for Essex. So did Ronnie Irani. What is it with you people from Essex? is it the inbreeding?

  10.   Daniel Brigham says:

    Cook has never looked good, so the irrelevance is irrelevant. What is less irrelevant is his technical change = two successive hundreds.

    He’s going to be on the plane to South Africa so England may as well let him test it out against Lee and Johnson before facing Stern and Morkel.

    If he fails, then bring on some Aussie tough love. That’ll stop him grinning.

  11.   D Charlton says:

    To quote the TWC newsletter from two weeks back:

    “Have you spotted a cricketer doing something not all that significant? Maybe you’ve seen Ravi Bopara scoring a double hundred in the second division of the County Championship. Whatever it is, we desperately want to hear from you. Email [email protected] and spare no mundane detail.”

    [And you can sign up to the newsletter below - good read]

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