“You don’t see Alastair Cook drop too many”

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Alastair Cook drop (via ECB)

So said Michael Vaughan after Cook had shelled an easy one early on. Where has he been looking? We’ve always felt like he drops a fair few – although maybe not by Vaughan’s own almost criminally low catching standards.

We wouldn’t go so far as to say that Cook’s a bad slip fielder. If we were called upon to deliver a one-word appraisal of his ability, we’d go with ‘serviceable’.

Maybe people have now seen him catch so many that they forget all the misses and assume he’s some sort of bucket-handed Flintoff figure. He’s not though – and it’s not just a feeling.

When Charles Davis counted up all the drops in Test cricket from 2000 to 2016, no non-wicketkeeper had dropped more than Cook. If plenty were perfectly forgiveable short leg snatches, the opener was nevertheless responsible for 62 non-catches in that time. Vaughan must have seen at least a couple of these. He was Cook’s captain in 18 Tests, after all.

Fortunately for Cook, England’s bowlers created a veritable barrage of opportunities on day one at Lord’s which allowed him to secure his 152nd and 153rd catches by the end of the day. (If you feel moved to compare that with the incomplete tally of Cook drops above, it’s worth knowing that around a quarter of chances are grassed in Test cricket.)

Ben Stokes, in particular, made even jaded old seen-it-alls leak oooohs, such was the swing he mustered. The misses were so near and so frequent that at one point even the umpire did a sharp intake of breath and a ‘how did that miss?’ face.

It was all rather glorious for England until the West Indies came out and did exactly the same thing only without dropping any.


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. It would be a lot easier to stop comparing Ben Stokes to Ian Botham if Ben Stokes didn’t PLAY EXACTLY AND I DO MEAN EXACTLY LIKE IAN BLOODY BOTHAM.

  2. It’s a cloudy day again with rain forecast in the afternoon. Unless he’s very lucky, Anderson will get his 500th today. Maybe Cook won’t drop the catch.

    1. Weather forecast pretty grim today – we’ll be lucky if we see much if any cricket.

      Shame, as I have some different characters with me today, one of whom has never been to a test match before and after this experience might never come again!

      Daisy and I are hoping to see Anderson get his 500th on Saturday…but not too early in the day;we’re hoping to see a fair bit more batting from England first.

      1. Wish I could catch every match at Lords. I’ve only been there twice. Once for a test and once for a T20 evening.

  3. Serviceable? I remember you using “shit” in an extremely rare public expression of not mincing any words to describe Cook’s slip-catching, your majesty.

  4. I am really liking Patrick Matautaava, the big-hitting Vanuatu all-rounder.

    Is this a taste of what Fiji’s Ilikena Lasarusa Talebulamaineiilikenamainavaleniveivakabulaimainakulalakebalau was like in days gone by? Though he was a batsman rather than a bowler, he was also apparently a great striker of the ball. He finished off the chase that saw Fiji beat Auckland in Fiji’s only first-class victory in their history, and a century in one hour against Canterbury with eight sixes and five fours (in a second innings total of 344 in 65.3 overs).

  5. About half way through that post, ‘He’s not though-and it’s not just a feeling’ bit, Boston’s ‘More than a Feeling’ started playing in my head. It’s been on a loop all morning and I’m thoroughly enjoying it. Thanks KC.

  6. On the subject of Michael Vaughan’s opinions, this week/fortnight’s Private Eye contains the following, which I have only slightly altered:

    “…More impressive still was the choice of former cricketer Michael Vaughan [to promote the Daily Telegraph’s ability “to choose its words to produce more light than heat”]. “Vaughan couldn’t write f**k on a mucky winder,” observes one Telegraph scribe, pointing out that Vaughan’s Telegraph column is in fact ghost-written by sports hack Nick Hoult. Every, er, word of it!”

    But never mind that -Jimmy has taken 500 wickets and there’s a thriller on at Lord’s. Is this Test series the best, relative to expectations, of the calendar year so far?

    1. Is he still flogging his anti-baldness clinic within a hair’s breadth of being in breach of advertorial standards?

      Sanctimonious twunt.

      1. I’m only slightly bitter. Like another KC reader of late, I have already had to invest in a new hat to bridge the gap between going bald and being able to just cover my head in sunblock. Nine jeffing quid but at least if the cap fits… all of which makes me hate that Vaughan character even more.

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