ALASTAIR COOK’s future as captain is under the microscope after England’s Test series defeat in India, but Tim Bresnan insists that he is still the right man to lead the team.
The Yorkshire all-rounder has thrown his support behind Cook amid speculation that he could be replaced as captain by Yorkshire’s Joe Root.
Cook himself said that Root is “ready to captain England” after they went 3-0 down ahead of Friday’s fifth and final Test in Chennai. But despite admitting that England’s defeat has led him to question his own position, Cook has given no clear hint that he wants to step down having previously outlined his desire to lead England into next winter’s Ashes.
“I think that while Cooky’s still getting runs he should be captain,” said Bresnan. “I don’t think that’s an issue.
“Some people are obviously wanting to step Rooty up, but how’s that going to affect Rooty?
“We’ve struggled in India, but other teams have struggled.
“I think that maybe team selection and the touring party needs looking at more than actually what’s happening elsewhere. Basically, Cooky can only captain the team that he takes on the field. I don’t know whether he’s getting the final say or not, I don’t know.
“But, as long as he’s good enough to play, Cooky should still be captain.”
Bresnan, 31, played nine of his 23 Tests under Cook’s leadership.
He holds his former captain in high esteem.
“Cooky’s a good bloke and very honest,” said Bresnan. “He’s probably more critical of his own performance than anyone else and he leads from the front, which is what a good leader does.
“He was strong enough to say ‘no’ when he felt you were wrong.
“But, from a bowling point of view, you’re going to bowl better if you’ve got the field that you want, and he was very similar in terms of his thinking.
“Basically, his attitude was that, as long as you were comfortable, as long as you were happy, and as long as you were delivering the plan that we had as a team with your field, then he backed you.
“You back yourself a lot more as well if you’ve got the trust of your captain.”
As Cook’s deputy, Root is widely expected to take over as captain at some point.
Root has led Yorkshire three times – including the infamous game at Lord’s in 2014, when Middlesex won chasing 472, sparking plenty of good-natured ribbing from his Yorkshire team-mates.
“His record as Yorkshire captain is shocking,” quipped Bresnan. “Craptain, we used to call him. Maybe one day (Root will captain England), who knows.
“But, for me, not just yet because I think Cooky should continue in the job.”
Bresnan, who still hopes to feature in the forthcoming Australian Big Bash, although nothing has been finalised, was Yorkshire’s best player last season.
With bat, ball and in the field, he consistently produced outstanding displays. Chief among them was in the title decider against Middlesex at Lord’s, where he top-scored with 142 in the first innings and with 55 in the second after being pressed into action higher up at No 5.
“I’ve said it a million times, but I’m just happy doing whatever role the team wants me to do,” said Bresnan, who recently underwent a successful clean-out of his troublesome right elbow.
“Before that match, Galey (captain Andrew Gale) said, ‘We need a result, and this is what we’re going to do with the team. It means you’re going to have to bat at No 5’.
“I said, ‘Really?!’, but I was happy to do it.”
Bresnan is now happy for his close friend and brother-in-law Gale, who retired from playing last month to become Yorkshire’s new first team coach.
“I’m immensely pleased for him, but he’s not so much of a close friend anymore as he won’t speak to me,” joked Bresnan.
“He’s distanced himself from the players now that he’s coach, so I need a new mate to go to the local with.
“He’s the right man for the job and he was doing quite a lot of the leg-work anyway when it came to plans and man-management and things like that while he was captain, so I suppose that his role, although he’s sat on the sidelines now, has not changed that much.
“I’m not sure what he does though – he seems to have got a car parking space and changed his tracksuit for a suit, but, other than that, he doesn’t seem to do a right lot,” he quipped.
Tim Bresnan was speaking at Leeds General Infirmary yesterday where he and fellow Yorkshire CCC players Ryan Sidebottom, Jack Brooks, Azeem Rafiq and Will Rhodes handed out Christmas gifts at Leeds Congenital Heart Unit. The visit marked the start of a two-year partnership between Yorkshire CCC and the Children’s Heart Surgery Fund charity, which supports the Heart Unit’s work at LGI.