Hussain: Captaincy is 'dragging Cook down'

England

Former England captain Nasser Hussain has again questioned the wisdom of keeping Alastair Cook as skipper, saying the opening batsman's dire run of form may not end unless the armband was removed.

Former England captain Nasser Hussain has again questioned the wisdom of keeping Alastair Cook as skipper, saying the opening batsman's dire run of form may not end unless the armband was removed.

Cook has now passed 25 knocks without ATest ton, spanning more than a year, and was out for 10 in the first innings at Lord's. Hussain felt the pressure of leading England, on nine Tests without a win now, was taking away from Cook's batting.

Hussain said on <i>Sky Sports</i>: "Cook's batting has gone downhill and I think he has got to seriously look at his position as captain and whether he needs it dragging him down.

"You only have so much energy in your day and because he is not a natural leader I think he is putting so much into his leadership and only leaving a little bit for his batting.

"If he didn't turn up at The Ageas Bowl next week, would England miss him as a captain? Not really. But they are missing his guaranteed runs.

"I am sure there is a hundred just around the corner but he needs to decide whether he can get that hundred as captain."

Cook's predecessor, Andrew Strauss, felt England's batsmen did not take advantage of an essentially good batting track, and said they may have missed their chance as the deck was likely to be tricky to bat on later in the game. England ended day two still 76 runs behind India, with four wickets in hand.

Strauss said: "There is still a bit of green so the odd ball is moving around but you are looking at this pitch as a batsman now and thinking 'I can score runs on this'.

"The ball is coming through a bit quicker so while that makes it harder for the batsmen to react if there is a bit of deviation, it means the ball is coming onto the bat nicely.

"The indentations are not as pronounced as they were in Thursday afternoon with the heavy roller having gone on the pitch and the track is now very dry and dusty, which is unlike Lord's.

"Lord's doesn't tend to turn but there is a lot of rough and that will get bigger and bigger as the game goes on and become difficult for England's left-handers in the final innings."

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