Cook in control
Ali Martin told Cricket Writers on TV that Alastair Cook is growing into the role of England's ODI captain.
Last Updated: 09/07/12 2:38pm
Alastair Cook is becoming a commanding force as England's one-day captain, according to The Sun's Ali Martin.
Cook, 27, guided England into an unassailable 3-0 series leave over Australia as the hosts won the fourth one-day international in Durham by eight wickets. Read our report here.
The Essex opener landed the job in May 2011 and endured a 5-0 ODI whitewash in India the following October.
Since then, however, the team's fortunes have been transformed as Cook has skippered England to a record nine consecutive one-day victories featuring four over Pakistan, two over the West Indies and now three against Australia.
"Ever since that 5-0 defeat in India we've gone on a great run of results, winning in the UAE against Pakistan, which was no mean feat, and you can sense that Cook is really growing into the role," Martin told Cricket Writers on TV.
"I was on his first tour as captain when he was - if you remember - given that role on the 2010 tour of Bangladesh; Andrew Strauss was rested for that series and Cook sort of cut his teeth in captaincy then.
"I think there was a slight sense on that tour that it was, in a way, perhaps Andy Flower captaining by proxy to a certain extent. There was a point in the Test match in Chittagong where Cook had to go off the field and enquire about the follow-on and what have you.
"So there was an element of that and I think he's really growing into the role now and leading from the front with the bat. He continues to plough on as this relentless run-machine.
"It's actually helping his partner settle in - Kevin Pietersen was doing well alongside him and now Ian Bell, who has 364 runs in his resurgence as a one-day player."
Cook will return to the ranks alongside T20 skipper Stuart Broad following Tuesday's fifth and final one-day international against Australia, at Old Trafford, as Test captain Andrew Strauss comes back into the side for the three-match series against South Africa.
Martin believes that England's decision to become the first nation to have different captains for Test, ODI and Twenty20 cricket is paying dividends.
"The captaincy means so much to Cook as a way of perhaps cementing his chances as a future Test captain," he reflected.
"One think I'd say about the captaincy of Cook is that the split-captaincy has allowed England to freshen up every time that the armband changes hands.
"We're talking about this fantastic home record that England have. You have to go back to the 6-1 defeat to Australia after the 2009 Ashes, I believe, to find their last home-soil defeat.
"You could say there was no surprise there after a long, arduous Test series Strauss then had to rally the troops again. But by freshening up the captaincy it refocuses England's players and the results are there to see."