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Darren Gough: Anyone but Alastair Cook would have been dropped a long time ago

Struggling: England's Alastair Cook walks off after being caught during day two of the Third Test at Trent Bridge.
Struggling: England's Alastair Cook walks off after being caught during day two of the Third Test at Trent Bridge.
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Joe Root came out this week and said it is down to Alastair Cook when he retires from playing for England and, for me, that was not a great statement.

I know what Root is trying to say in that you want players like Cook with the record he has got to go out on their own terms, but it is basically saying that no matter how many times he fails he is still going to be picked.

India's Virat Kohli during day three of the Specsavers Third Test match at Trent Bridge. Picture: Mike Egerton/PA.

India's Virat Kohli during day three of the Specsavers Third Test match at Trent Bridge. Picture: Mike Egerton/PA.

Surely there has to be some plan of building for the future, too. If this carries on we could end up with Stuart Broad, Jimmy Anderson and Cook all leaving at the same time and we could be back to where Australia where when they got rid of all of their best players at the same time.

Ideally you want Cook to play for the rest of the summer, get two big hundreds in the next two Tests and England win the series and it is job done.

If not realistically it has got to be said that Cook has had plenty of time now and that there has got to be a change.

It is going to be his decision; I get that. But, for me, he has got to get to the end of the summer to do something about it.

We all want Alastair to go out on a high. I have know him a long, long time; he is a terrific bloke and great player. But he is not getting runs. Trevor Bayliss says he is not getting runs, but is not out of nick. But isn’t not getting runs being out of nick?

Darren Gough

His statistics are pretty good, although they are dipping, to be honest. 159 Tests at an average of 45.11 with 32 hundreds and England’s leading Test run-scorer of all time with 12,225 runs. It is a remarkable record.

But here are his scores of late: 29, 17, 21, 13, 0, 46, 70, 1, 2, 14, 5, 2, 39, 10 – wait for it, 244 not out; 7, 14, 37, 16, 2, 7, 10, 17, 11, 23 and, wait for it, 243. That takes England all the way back to last year’s West Indies series and he has passed 50 three times in 26 innings.

Let’s be honest, if it had been anybody else he would have been dropped a long time ago.

When you look at some of the greats who have been left out before, such as Ian Bell and Kevin Pietersen, it is going to come to a point where a decision has to be made.

We all want Alastair to go out on a high. I have known him a long, long time; he is a terrific bloke and great player. But he is not getting runs. Trevor Bayliss says he is not getting runs, but is not out of nick. But isn’t not getting runs being out of nick?

Root is not in really good nick at the minute, but he still gets 80s and 90s.

Cook knows the score. For me he is a cricketer who needs to play a lot of games with his technique. Central contracts has been great for him, it has given him longevity and 159 Tests.

Over the years he has cut down. He does not play one-day cricket or T20 and probably spends more time on the farm now than being in the middle.

Cricketers are all different. Some need to play and bat every day and others can just rock up and be natural. Cook is technically all over the shop at the minute and, for me, he is one of those who needs to practise and play as much as he can.

I remember when myself and Andy Caddick opened the bowling for England many a time. Andy was someone who needed to bowl every day, a minimum of 10 overs.

I could go a week without bowling a ball and then just rock up and play a Test match. Certain people are different and I played with batsmen who needed to bat every day and other guys who did not.

For me since Cook stopped playing all forms his form has dipped. He is one of those who has to work really hard at his game, like Boycs did. Cook is in that mould.

Looking at the recent Test at Trent Bridge we had the collapses again in the top order, which is an ongoing concern.

We have only got a few batsmen who now average over 40 – Root and Cook. When one of them is out of form, especially in Cook, it is very, very difficult for England.

Root is having to go to ‘three’. I do not think it is a massive problem for him, but he is coming in so early in every innings.

We are in a situation where we have not got a natural three or four because Ollie Pope bats at six for Surrey. Jonny Bairstow averages just under 40 and while Jos Buttler got a century it was his first Test hundred in 23 Tests.

At least Buttler and Ben Stokes showed in the second innings that if you display a bit of spirit, fight and have a technique you can make things happen. That is how you should play in the first innings and not be going out like it is a 20-over game.

That is what India did in both innings and Virat Kohli realises that in this country you cannot just come in and dominate. You have to fight and wait for the right delivery to hit. He has shown the rest of the world how to play in English conditions.

We should not be speaking about showing English players how to play in English conditions. It is ridiculous.

Regarding Kohli there is a lot of talk about him being the best batsman in the world and you have got to say he is now.

Root was close to him two years ago. But the problem with him now as a captain is that he is in early all the time. I do think his natural position is four, but he is having to bat at three because we have not had a number three since Bell.

At the moment we have a number one and two who just keep nicking off to Ishant Sharma and a number three who is a great player who is not getting as many runs as he wants. Then we have someone at four in Pope who should be batting at six.

We then have Bairstow, who looks like he might miss the next Test at least with injury, and Stokes, who has a disciplinary meeting hanging over him at any time.

Buttler is someone who we think should be at seven, but in the second innings he came in at six and got a hundred.

For me there is no definite plan in terms of what we are doing with our batting line-up.

At the time I played it was Athers and Mark Butcher opening the batting. Graeme Hick was three and Nasser Hussain and Graham Thorpe were four and five.

We knew our top five and it really helps. But I do not think that we currently know our top five for England.