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Alastair Cook is clearly a pragmatic chap. Anyone who is happy to retain the Ashes with a simpering draw, when the glory of a run chase victory is on the table, doesn't have much of a sense of the value of glory (or narrative).

After the second Test many England fans and pundits alike (including OFF STUMPED) were talking, albeit in hushed tones, about the prospect of a 5-0 whitewash, in revenge for the 2006 series.

But the tactics of Cook yesterday - an embarrassing over-rate, forcing the umpires into a decision over the light - highlight the gulf in class between the current England team and the Australian squad of 89-03.

Whilst Cook's England were playing for a draw from the middle of day three, the Australia of yesteryear would have taken on the challenge of the 330 run-chase, and they'd probably have got it.

There is no glory playing for a draw, even if that draw secures the series. That's not to say there's no value in it. An Ashes series win is an Ashes series win, and that's clearly the most important thing for Cook's England. What it shows though is weakness and fear. The truly great teams don't play the odds, they don't go for draws, they look to win whatever the circumstances.

This England team will never achieve its full potential unless it learns that.

Image via Getty


OFF STUMPED: Cook's England will never be truly great if they play the odds
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