Alastair Cook must leave on his own terms, says Ricky Ponting
What's the story?
Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting believes that out of form England opener Alastair Cook must retire on his own terms despite continuing to endure a lean patch of late, but also hopes that Cook is not dropped during the ongoing Ashes series.
"He deserves to be able to finish on his terms," Ponting told cricket.com.au. "One of England's greatest ever players and one of the world's greatest ever players.” Ponting said that after speaking to a few English journalists, he felt that Cook was under a lot of pressure, especially considering the mode of his dismissals on the tour.
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One of England's most prolific batsmen, Cook became the first from his country to score 10,000 Test runs. However, the last time he crossed fifty was eleven innings ago when he hit 243 against West Indies at Edgbaston.
Since then, his highest score has been only 37 which he got at Adelaide on the current tour. He has struggled against pace as well as spin, as both swing and the turning ball seem to have found him wanting.
The heart of the matter
Cook has so far managed merely 83 runs at 13.83 in the Ashes and the Perth Test is his 150th for England. Before the series had begun, Ponting had predicted Australia to win 4-0, and pointed out that one of the visitors' biggest problems was the lack of performance from their seniors, including Cook.
"If you look at Cook's last 6-12 months he got 240 in a Test against the West Indies over there and that made his whole summer look a whole lot better than it was,” Ponting had told the Australian website. “I think he's just hanging on.”
While Australia seem to be heading towards an unbeatable 3-0 lead with two matches left, there is a week left before which the fourth Test at the MCG starts on the 26th of December.
That should provide the ideal time for Cook and the team management to ponder on what went wrong. Also, the fact that England do not have a reserve opener in their squad might prompt them to continue with Cook.
Ponting, a veteran of 168 Tests, had the hit the hammer bang on the nail when he had mentioned England's mounting problems due to low returns from their senior players: Cook, James Anderson and Stuart Broad.
However, England must persist with Cook considering that every player – whether senior or not – endures a low run of performances in his career.
Moreover, what might be preventing Cook from calling it a day himself may not be his age – he will be only 33 this Christmas – but the fact that England have had a poor record of openers ever since Andrew Strauss retired in 2012.