England news June 27, 2014

Warne tells Cook: 'Take a rest'

ESPNcricinfo staff

Shane Warne has stepped up his criticism of Alastair Cook's captaincy, insisting that his leadership of England at Headingley represented the worst day of international captaincy he had witnessed in 25 years.

In an outspoken column in the Telegraph, Warne dismissed Cook's suggestions that his criticism was somehow personal and suggested that it would be "a miracle" if he ever became tactically astute.

Cook had suggested ahead of the Headingley Test, which Sri Lanka won in the last over to take the series, that "something should be done" about Warne's trenchant criticism. He has insisted that he has no intention of resigning as England captain ahead of the Test series against India. He has received support, among others, from India's coach Duncan Fletcher, the man who first introduced him to Test cricket.

"There are three ways to go with Alastair 'Cooked' Cook," Warne wrote. "Everyone sticks their head in the sand and just allows things to keep going as is and hope he finds form with the bat and by a miracle discovers some tactical brains from somewhere. Two: he steps down from the captaincy to concentrate on his batting. Three: the most radical of all, he has a complete break away from the game.

"His captaincy at Lord's was terrible, then on Monday at Headingley I witnessed the worst day of captaincy I have ever seen at international level in almost 25 years in the game. It was horrific, and I am not the only one singing that tune.

"This column is not a personal attack and never has been Alastair. Mate, you need to improve tactically or England need someone else in the job. And I am not the only one saying it. Please speak to Michael Vaughan, Nasser Hussain and other successful captains who were tough, ruthless and got it.

"With Cook as captain England will always be conservative and get confused about what to do when games are in the balance because he retreats so quickly ... If a game is in the balance with Cook at the helm then I am here to tell you, England will lose."