POLL: Former Essex player and ex-Zimbabwe coach says Alastair Cook should step aside as England captain

England and Essex captain Alastair Cook

England and Essex captain Alastair Cook - Credit: Archant

Former Essex bowler Don Topley has called for Alastair Cook to temporarily stand down as England captain following his side’s 5-0 hammering by Australia in the recent Ashes Test series.

The ex-Zimbabwe coach, who played for Essex for a decade, also thinks erstwhile Essex team-mate Graham Gooch should quit as the country’s batting coach following a feeble display from England’s batsmen this winter, but maintains that another former Essex star, Andy Flower, should remain as head coach.

England resume their tour of Australia in Melbourne, on Sunday with the first of five One-Day internationals, having been humbled by a hungry Australian team who were chasing their first Ashes series win since a similar whitewash Down Under in 2006/07.

Topley, Master in Cricket at Ipswich’s Royal Hospital School, said: “This will be remembered as one of the worst-ever tours to Australia. It’s far worse than a disaster.

“Australia performed brilliantly and wanted it far more than we did. They were quite aggressive, as were their press, supporters and fast bowlers, and England were not up to the task.”

Essex opener Cook, meanwhile, who played club cricket for Maldon, averaged less than 25 in 10 Test innings and was part of an England batting line-up that was bullied into submission by the re-born paceman Mitchell Johnson, who took 37 wickets in five matches.

Three times England’s margin of defeat was more than 200 runs, and Cook himself admitted after Australia sealed a 5-0 whitewash in Sydney that, “if it was a boxing match it would have been stopped.”

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Topley added: “I am underwhelmed by Alastair Cook’s tactical knowledge and underwhelmed by his leadership.

“It would be my suggestion that he is relinquished of the captaincy in the interim period while he regains his form with the bat. Above all else England need his top order runs more than his captaincy.

“There is no natural replacement around the team though and the million-dollar question would be who would be named as his successor?”

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