The hot topic for the past few weeks on the national cricket scene has been the captaincy of Alastair Cook and who should replace him due to his and England’s poor recent record.
The left-hander is refusing to quit as skipper but it seems only a matter of time before he is pushed out, as much for his own lack of runs this year as an opener as his form as a leader.
The superb form of fellow left-hander Adam Lyth was highlighted by his ton at Scarborough this weekend, and the Whitby-born batsman’s name has been linked to a call-up for the England team on several occasions this summer.
He also became the first batsman this season to pass the 1,000 run mark in the LV County Championship first division after reaching his ton, so it seems bizarre that he has been unable to force his way into the England squad, or even the Lions squad for the triangular tournament against New Zealand A and Sri Lanka A next month,
This is the same as an English striker scoring more than 20 goals in the Premier League, such as Daniel Sturridge, and being passed over for a spot in the England squad, I cannot see this happening.
Lyth is also a very fine slip fielder, has also shown his agility in the outfield with two outstanding acrobatic leaps to set up catches for Aaron Finch.
Unfortunately, barring a heavy defeat in the third Test, which starts at Southampton on Sunday, I cannot see Cook abandoning his post until the end of the series.
I have to admit that Cook is a world-class batsman, but when he has not scored a Test century for 16 months the alarm bells must start to ring.
His leadership has been questioned on many occasions, but the lack of alternatives to step into his shoes must also have contributed towards the ECB’s reluctance to send him back onto the county circuit to recapture his form.
Ian Bell is possibly the next option as captain but he has been experiencing his own issues with form over the past few months, so maybe it would have to be a new face to lead the side.
The ECB may fear putting another world-class talent out of action by weighing them down with the pressure of leading his country.
My choice would be Joe Root, despite the fact he is only 23 years old.
Being appointed skipper of South Africa at 22 did not do Graeme Smith any harm and I feel that Root has the enthusiasm and ability to take banter on the field from opponents to take on the role.
Root knows when to dig in with the bat, and this stubbornness could also stand him in good stead.
Ironically the form of the new crop of younger batsmen, such as Sam Robson, Root and Gary Ballance have probably harmed Lyth’s chances of breaking into the England set-up, though some may argue Lyth deserved a call-up ahead of Robson earlier this summer.