Kolkata: Alastair Cook quit as the skipper of the England Test team yesterday. Cook has had a mixed reign during his 5 years of leadership with some notable victories like the series win against India in 2012 and South Africa in 2015-16. He led the English team in a record of 59 test matches and has been the most successful test captain England has produced till date. It is speculated that Vice-Captain, Joe Root will be replacing the 32- year old Cook as the skipper. Cook although has expressed his desire to continue playing for his nation. “Stepping down has been an incredibly hard decision but I know this is the correct decision for me and at the right time for the team” said the former English skipper.
With this exit of Cook as captain, it is getting evident that the boards and selectors all over the cricketing world are counting more on youthfulness, energy and agility over experience. Only a few days back, Mahendra Singh Dhoni stepped down as the skipper of the Indian cricket team in limited overs formats. He had earlier opted out of the leadership role in Tests too. He handed over the responsibility to Virat Kohli. Even though Dhoni had huge success and experience on his side, Virat counts on his sheer passion and magical aura. This helps to snatch away the momentum of the game from the opponents.
This pouncing energy and confidence of the young and talented players have gone down very well with the selectors of not only the Indian cricket team, but also with others. It has been quite some time now but even the then newcomer and young enthusiast Kane Williamson was given the captaincy of the New Zealand cricket squad. It was the more experienced Ross Taylor who left the throne for him. Even Dhoni was given the tag of the skipper which he took over from the much more experienced Rahul Dravid. Also, Faf du Plessis took over as the skipper of South African Test side from the more experienced AB de Villiers, when the latter stepped down in 2016. Pakistan’s test captain, Misbah-ul-Haq too could quit any day.
It can rightly be said that a new era of cricket has begun. The rules, the temperament, the aesthetics of the game, everything seems changing. To be precise, the orthodoxy associated with the 16th Century game seems to fade away. The scope of excitement and thrill is getting attached to those of class and techniques. Whether good or bad, that is something which differs from person to person!
Cook however got his share of respect after stepping down. Former English skipper Michael Vaughan was all praise for the left-handed batsman. In a tweet Vaughan says, “Timing is everything and once again Alastair Cook has got it spot on. A great man who I hope plays on for many years”. England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) director Andrew Strauss says, “He’s (Cook) led the team with determination, conviction and a huge amount of pride over the last five years and his records stands for itself. He deserves to be seen as one of our country’s great captains”.