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Cook's captaincy in stats

Sky Sports logo Sky Sports 27-10-2016

Getty © Provided by BSkyB Getty Getty © Provided by BSkyB Getty

At Mirpur, Alastair Cook will captain England for the 54th time in Test cricket, equalling Michael Atherton's record. While that is still some way short of Graeme Smith's record 109 Tests in charge, it is still a notable achievement. 

Some players have thrived on captaincy - Graham Gooch being a classic example. Gooch averaged 58.72 in his 34 Tests when captaining England, highlighted by his memorable 333 against India at Lord's in 1990 - one of his 11 centuries when in charge. When he was in the ranks, that average dropped to 35.93 with nine centuries in 84 Tests.

Michael Vaughan was England's premier batsman with an average of more than fifty in Test cricket when he took the reins, but he relatively struggled when combining the role of captain and run-scorer and averaged just 16.75 in his last five matches in charge:

Perhaps unsurprisingly for someone who just seems to keep rolling along, captaincy hasn't really affected Cook at all. He started in a blaze of glory, setting a record by striking centuries in his first five matches as captain - against Bangladesh in 2010 standing in for Andrew Strauss - and India in 2012, but his overall record is remarkably similar:

Michael Atherton won 13 of his 54 matches in charge, losing 21 and drawing 20. He was unfortunate to have 15 Ashes Tests against a very strong Australian side in that mix - he won four and lost nine of those matches. By contrast, Cook has won two Ashes series as captain and only lost one, but has a 6-7 losing record thanks to the 5-0 thrashing in Australia in the 2013-14 series.

Looking more closely, Cook has been a tad unfortunate with the toss in his matches in charge. He has won the toss 24 times (45 per cent), choosing to bat 15 times and to bowl nine times and has lost the toss 29 times. Atherton was even more unlucky, winning just 23 of his 54 tosses (43 per cent).

In all, 26 captains have led their side at least 40 Test matches. Recent England captains seem to be habitually unlucky with the toss. Nasser Hussain ranks 25th on that list with a success rate of just 42 per cent, Atherton's 43 per cent is only just above him with Cook level with Michael Vaughan on 45 per cent.

Andrew Strauss somewhat bucked the trend with a success rate of 54 per cent and top of the pile is England's leader in the 1950s and 1960s Peter May, who won an astounding 66 per cent of his tosses (27 out of 41).

Maybe times are a changing. Cook has elected to bowl nine times, which has equalled Strauss' England record. In contrast, May chose to bat 25 times and bowl only twice, despite having the likes of Trueman, Statham, Bailey, Laker and Lock to call on. Ray Illingworth only bowled once in his 15 won tosses in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

In terms of wins, Cook is level with Strauss and just two short of Michael Vaughan's record of 26 victories when in charge of England and he could close that gap still further with victory in the second Test at Mirpur.

With home series against South Africa having spelled the end of his three predecessors in charge (Hussain in 2003, Vaughan in 2008 and Strauss in 2012) it remains to be seen how many more Tests in charge the Essex man will have, but given that he is still only 31 and seems to still have an insatiable appetite for Test cricket, all indicators are that he will be around for a long time to come.

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