Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting piled more pressure on under-fire England skipper Alastair Cook on Tuesday by saying he will not improve as a player for the rest of his career.
England’s 95-run defeat by India in the second Test at Lord’s on Monday made it 10 successive Test matches without victory for the team — their worst winless streak in the format for 21 years.
Cook, 29, has failed to score a Test hundred in 27 innings and has totalled a meagre 129 runs in nine Test innings this calendar year, sparking calls for him to be fired.
Ponting, who retired last year after playing 168 Test matches, said most players find it hard to perform after their first 100 Tests.
“He’ll try and find ways to sort of hang on and maintain a certain level,” he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
“There’s no doubt that the struggles of his team will be having a big impact on the way that he’s playing.
“I don’t think he’s going to get any better as a player.”
Former England captain Mike Atherton echoed the calls for Cook to step down.
“For all the resolve... to carry on regardless, common sense should prevail in the interests of the man and his team,” Atherton wrote in the Times.
“It gives no pleasure to write it, but the tap on the shoulder for Cook should come. The cruellest cut would also be the kindest cut, as it would be in this fine cricketer’s best interests, so that he can find a way to score runs and enjoy his cricket again.”
Injury-plagued Prior takes break
England wicketkeeper Matt Prior has decided to take a break from international duty for the rest of the season after losing form due to a series of injuries.
The 32-year-old has had a torrid season behind the stumps and his rash dismissal, unwisely hooking Ishant Sharma, played a key role in England’s second innings collapse.
He has dropped six catches of varying difficulty this season and with the bat he has averaged just 25.
“I’ve always said as long as I can do my job I will manage the pain and get on with it,” said Prior. “But it has now got to the point where I can’t do my job to the level I expect of myself.”
Published in The Express Tribune, July 23rd, 2014.
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