11th October 2011

You’ve got to feel sorry for Alistair Cook. And not just because he looks like Teen Wolf and had to learn the clarinet as a child. I mean for cricketing reasons too.

Man, that poor bugger has worked so hard on his one-day game. Put in so many hours back at the Chelmsford nets with Graeme Gooch. Can you imagine how hard it is not to stare at Goochie’s ‘unit’ whilst discussing power-play shot selection? Can you imagine how many boring golf anecdotes about John Emburey he’s had to sit through just to master the slog sweep? That’s dedication. That’s self-sacrifice.

And it looked like all that work was paying off as well; with an ODI average in the high fifties during the last year, scored at almost a run-a-ball. At any other time we’d be talking about Alistair’s miracle transformation from monotone-voiced blocker to monotone-voiced dasher. Instead a whole new generation of England batsmen have emerged that make that record look as exciting as Chris Tavaré buying a set of oven hood extractor fan filters.

Just look at Bairstow today. Unbeaten hundred off fifty balls and he wanders back into the dressing room moaning that he didn’t have enough time at the crease to get his eye in. You can see why Buttler was pushed down the order and Stokes left at home. There’s only so much of these young smart-arses you can take.

It’s no wonder Alistair picks batsmen like Ravi, Trotty and Belly in the first team. They’re not going to show up all your hard work like that even if they wanted too…