Alastair Cook as a one-day opener

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< 1 minute read

Dunno. Give him a chance?

The best players are adaptable, but we can’t shake the feeling that even if Alastair Cook can survive as a one-day batsman, he isn’t an opener.

Batsmen sometimes get branded as being ‘openers’ in England, but one-day opening is different. Successful one-day openers generally come in one of two forms.

Mad flailers

Not crappy pinch-hitters, just talented batsmen who are willing to throw the bat. These guys give you a start and hopefully more, but you know they won’t always succeed and you’re fine with that.

  • Virender Sehwag
  • Chris Gayle
  • Adam Gilchrist
  • Sanath Jayasuriya
  • Herschelle Gibbs

Utter class

Fine batsmen who often bat in the middle order in Tests. These are the guys who you want around for as long as possible. These are your bankers.

  • Sachin Tendulkar
  • Mark Waugh
  • Hashim Amla
  • Gordon Greenidge
  • Sourav Ganguly

Alastair Cook doesn’t fit either of those categories, which isn’t to say he can’t play one-day cricket. It’s just that openers are so, so important in that format. If there’s one batting position you want to get right, it’s that one.


Mike Gatting wasn't receiving the King Cricket email when he dropped that ludicrously easy chance against India in 1993.


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  1. Bopara has a good head on his shoulders. Alastair has good limbs hangin’ from his shoulders. Bell has a respectable torso connected to his limbs. Strauss has a good pair of legs that support his torso.

    These are all important factors.

  2. 1. Is Cook right as opener in ODIs?

    I can’t help but think you are softening us up so you can further develop your man crush on Ian Ronald Bell.

    Can we expect future deliveries along the lines of:

    2. Why does Bell bat so low down?
    3. Bell should open in ODIs

    Followed by the attempted yorker:

    4. Ian Ronald Bell is utter class.

    1. Well, you know what? We looked at the England squad and mentally picked our first XI. Ian Bell was opening, so we asked ourself why.

      The answer was that he was the best fit for the ‘utter class’ category (not an exact match, we’ll grant you). Today’s update ensued.

  3. Mad flailers

    – Tilakaratne Dilshan

    Utter Class

    – Kumar Sangakkara
    – Mahela Jayawardene

    The Sri Lankans’ one-day batting is better than ours by a near-embarassing margin.

  4. But you can see the logic of having him open the batting in ODIs. He opens the batting in tests. Therefore, he IS an opening batsman. If he didn’t open the batting he wouldn’t be an opening batsman, which he is. So he has to open the batting because that’s what he is and if he wasn’t that then that’s something he wouldn’t be, in which case he wouldn’t open the batting in ODIs.

    I can guarantee that this is PRECISELY the logic used in the selection meeting.

  5. How come I’ve set IE9 up to block ads, yet the only website that shows me an add is this one?

    I don’t want to win an iphone 4. Well I do, but I’m not going to try.

    57-6. I’m going to stick my neck out and go with England on this one. Those Sri Lankan openers eh!?

    1. Go with Firefox and enable AdBlock Plus.

      We never see our ads. Just brown space.

  6. Just to throw them a bone, I usually turn adblock off for the websites I like.

    So of course I’ve never seen the adverts here.


    1. What’s wrong with the ads? Since I started reading this website I’ve lost 38 inches off my waist by using one weird tip, been awarded my 17th degree to go with my eight doctorates, and Tatiana arrives on Monday.

    2. You know it decides what ads to show at least partly based on your internet history, right?

  7. I don’t understand why Cook will have to adjust the washing machine. Why?
    I’m not allowed to put the washing machine on in our house, but back in the day ‘Quick Wash’ covered everything. Have things moved on considerably since those days?

    1. Something to do with coloured clothing, Brad.

      But I’m with you, only using one setting regardless of cloth colour. No-one could accuse me of colour prejudice.

      But I could be accused of wearing the occasional “white” shirt that is fading to grey. Cue Visage.

    2. Very few of the captions stand up to scrutiny. We’re with you guys in reality. It took us a year to realise we had our washing machine set on some sort of nylon setting.

      Don’t worry. We have now identified and engaged quickwash.

  8. Anyway, there’s a third category of successful ODI opener that you forgot about.

    These are the ones that open in Tests and ODIs and always get the runs, inexplicably, somehow. They piss everyone off while they’re doing it as they do so with a technique that makes people bemoan the state of international bowling.

    They then talk an immense pile off guff and remind everyone else what’s annoying about their country.

    Matthew Hayden, Graeme Smith, Alastair Cook?

    1. I’m with Howzat on this one.

      Possibly could add Strauss to that mix over the past 18 months too. Not on the talking guff front. Just the runs front.

      I would swap Kieswetter and Bell around. Why do people insist on the keeper opening just because Gilchrist did.


      That’s not bad? is it?

    2. CK opens because he does so, well, for Somerset. Putting him down the order is playing him out of position.

      If you pick Kieswetter, you pick him as an opener. If you’re playing him down the order you might as well play James Foster.

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