How about a positive England Test Cricket fan? Yes, it does sound almost unbelievable. Most will be looking at Alistair Cook’s retirement from International Cricket as a worry for a number of reasons. The lack of experience of the current crop against top sides will be pointed out all the more by the media. But another major issue is the lack of runs at the top of the order in recent years, even with Cook’s relentless presence.
The amount of openers that Cook has had to bat with since the retirement of Andrew Strauss is almost laughable. Just off the top of my head, Nick Compton, Michael Carberry, Mark Stoneman, Haseeb Hameed, and Adam Lyth have all come and gone, not fixing their places in the team. And more recently, Keaton Jennings has batted at the top, whilst looking less than convincing, and is probably walking on a tight rope as a result of this.
🏏Most Tests for England.
🏏Most Test runs for England.
🏏Most Tests as captain for England.
🏏Most Test centuries for England.
— Test Match Special (@bbctms) September 3, 2018
But what’s more worrying, is Cook’s form whilst batting with these inexperienced players. His figures don’t show in any way that he is the calm-head at the top of the order, with more experience with the bat than any other in the England squad. In fact, it is possible that the only reason for Cook’s permanent place in the squad is due to the otherwise lack of experience around him, and so for the need to have a man with such pedigree around the side.
However, I do seriously think that Alistair Cook’s retirement could end up being something promising, rather than worrying. As we’ve already seen, Cook’s figures, as well as those of opening partners, have been an issue for years now, so what better than to have two batsmen at the top of the order who have an equalling lack of experience and who have, pretty much, nothing to lose on the field. Up until now, Cook has had the excellent form of his years-gone-by to re-discover, whilst the newcomer openers have had to bat with one of the most successful English cricketers of all time. So perhaps it is excusable if they’ve felt a bit of pressure at the crease.
#AlastairCook has been one of the finest batsmen to have represented @ECB_cricket, and his conduct on-field and off it, has been impeccable. Well played Alastair. Wish you all the very best for what your 2nd innings has in store for you! pic.twitter.com/Y2mZd31GaN
— Sachin Tendulkar (@sachin_rt) September 3, 2018
So with two relatively new cricketers in the England fold, if the selectors do decide to go this way, one can imagine the freedom they can go out and play with, with neither one of them having batted with each other, nor had the task of being another in a long list of hopefuls, to replace the ex-captain Andrew Strauss. Cook’s retirement could shock England to start with, but in the long run, could be the start of a blossoming partnership of two players who have the chance to be the next great English opening partnership.