Alastair Cook will not captain England at next year’s World Cup.
A powerful combination of wretched results, even worse individual form and Cook’s vociferous and influential chorus of critics appear to have made it increasingly difficult for England’s selectors to stick by him.
A meeting in the Midlands yesterday, in which they were expected to pick an initial squad of 16 for next month’s tri-series in Australia, to be trimmed by one for the main event, suggests Cook has paid for his poor run of form.
The 29-year-old has made just one one-day international 50 in his last 22 innings.
Less than a week ago, England and Wales Cricket Board managing director Paul Downton was still saying he would be “very surprised” if – despite his “miserable” form – Cook was not confirmed as captain this morning.
Another individual failure, and defeat, followed to make the margin of England’s series setback in Sri Lanka 5-2.
The selectors deliberated at length in September before naming him as captain in Sri Lanka and, in James Whitaker’s words, a “unique leader” who would unquestionably stay in charge for the World Cup, too.
However, Cook conceded after his latest setback that he could have “no complaints” if he was moved on.
As for a replacement, Middlesex batsman Eoin Morgan is now expected to take on the challenge of preparing England for the World Cup.
Cook must focus on Ashes after ODI departure: Page 6.