London: Former England captain Nasser Hussain urged Alastair Cook to stand down as skipper after a 95-run defeat by India at Lord's on Monday condemned the side to its tenth Test without a win. Immediately after the match Cook said he had no intention of resigning and the England and Wales Cricket Board do not appear in a mood to sack him.
But with India 1-0 up in the five-match series, following a drawn opener at Trent Bridge, Hussain urged Cook to reconsider ahead of Sunday's third Test in Southampton. "He needs to tell ask himself, '(am I) making a difference as a captain to this England side?' The stats tell you that he's not," Hussain told Sky Sports.
"Would we miss Alastair if he was not captain at the Ageas Bowl?," added Hussain who spent his senior career with Essex, Cook's county. "If Michael Clarke was suddenly not captain of Australia I think they would miss him. If Alastair Cook was not captain of England at the Ageas Bowl would we look up and say 'we're missing the tactical genius of Alastair Cook?' We wouldn't."
England were 173 for 4, chasing 319 to win, on the stroke of lunch on Monday's final day. But the last ball of the session saw Moeen Ali turn his head away from an Ishant Sharma bouncer and glove a catch to short leg. Even so, at 173 for 5 and with a minimum 60 overs left, England were still in the game.
However, several batsmen fell to a blatant hooking trap, Matt Prior the first as he belied his status as a veteran of 79 Tests. Ben Stokes and Joe Root followed in similar fashion before England were dismissed for 223, with paceman Sharma taking Test-best figures of 7 for 74. This match saw opener Cook's run without a Test hundred extended to 27 innings but Hussain said England's problems ran far deeper than their skipper's lack of runs.
"There's been a lot of stuff written this week that he just needs a score. That will not change all of England's woes. If he gets an 80 at the Ageas Bowl, will they stop collapsing? No. Will they bowl better to the tail? No. Will they bowl better with the new ball? No. Will they play the short ball better? No."
Michael Vaughan, Hussain's successor as England skipper, was scathing about the way in Sharma took four wickets for nine runs in 21 balls after lunch before James Anderson's run out sealed India's victory. "It's been absolutely pathetic from England," Vaughan told BBC Radio's Test Match Special.
"We've seen some collapses in the last year - against Australia, Sri Lanka and now India - but this is the worst of the lot. India were the better team over the five days - they were better led and batted and bowled better. What was said in the England dressing room at lunch? To come out and play all those shots, it's absolutely ridiculous," added Vaughan, England's 2005 Ashes-winning captain.