England v Sri Lanka, 2nd Investec Test, Headingley June 24, 2014

'I never quit on anything' - Cook


Play 01:05
Cook: I'm not a quitter

Alastair Cook has insisted he has no intention of resigning the England captaincy despite his side slipping to the first home series defeat in their history against Sri Lanka.

Under Cook's captaincy, England are now without a win in eight successive Tests - six of which they have lost - which is their worst run since 1996-97. They have also dropped two places to fifth in the Test rankings.

Cook's own batting form is also causing concern. Since the start of the 2013 Ashes series, he has played 12 Tests and batted 24 times without making a century. In that period he has averaged just 25.04.

But, asked about his position after England slipped to a 100-run defeat against Sri Lanka at Headingley, Cook was adamant that, unless the ECB decide to sack him, he will not step down.

"I've never quit on anything I've done," Cook said. "I've given it my all, all the time. Every 104 games I've played for England, I've left everything out there

"It's the same situation here. Until that moment somebody tells me they don't want me to be captain, I'll still be here. I'm incredibly proud to be England captain. I've been selected to do it.

"If someone decides I'm not the right person for the job and the results don't justify me doing it, then fine. But until that moment, I'm desperate to try to turn English cricket around."

Cook conceded, however, that his batting form was a concern and accepted that the pressure on him to justify his place in the side was mounting.

"No one's guaranteed a place in this England team," he said. "You've seen with the young players around now, they're pushing for places. That's the way it should always be.

"When you're not batting well, you start to look at a few things technically. I'm sure there's something not quite right there I can work on.

"With runs at the moment hard to come by, it does put more pressure on me. I think I've got to go back to what I've done in the past. Bowlers do get tired. I've got to be so strong mentally and let them come to my areas, I believe. But it comes down to being mentally strong at the crease. I've done it in the past. I've just got to drag that mental strength out again.

"It's an incredibly tough challenge, a tough job, there's no doubt about it, especially opening the batting."

While Cook accepted that aspects of England's play in this game - especially their batting and bowling on the fourth day - had fallen well below standard, he did find some encouragement in the performances of some of the younger players. During the match both Sam Robson and Moeen Ali hit their maiden Test hundreds.

"I don't think you can fault any of the guys with the way they've played on the final day," he said. "We lost this Test match with a really bad day yesterday. We had one of our worst days, with both bat and ball, and lost this game because of it.

"Obviously, as a captain, you are responsible. We didn't bowl very well. It wasn't for lack of trying. We knew we had to bowl that fuller length. We knew what we were trying to do, but we just didn't get it right.

"If you look at the whole series, I think we probably had the better of eight, maybe seven, of the 10 days.

"With the fifth ball of the last day of the first Test, it was taken away from us and with the fifth ball of the last over, we've lost this Test match.

"It doesn't change the fact we've lost the series. But I think it would be wrong to look at it as such a negative series, just because we lost it.

"We've seen some amazing things from some young players who've come in, and announced themselves in international cricket. It was an incredible effort on the final day, with Moeen's hundred. To play like he played, for a free-flowing batsman to be so controlled, measured and calm under that pressure can only bode well for the future.

"But we can't look past the fact that, in this game, we were 300 for 3, with a lead of 60, and we haven't been able to nail Sri Lanka down. We should have got more than 360. We needed 450, 500 on that wicket. That's what's cost us."

It was noticeable on the final day that several of England's batsmen, notably Matt Prior and Joe Root, struggled against the short ball. But while Cook admitted that a hangover from Australia, and the beating that England took at the hands of Mitchell Johnson in particular, might still be affecting some players, he took comfort in the obvious pain that defeat caused his players, suggesting it showed the passion that remained within his side. James Anderson, who battled for more than 20 overs as part of the tenth-wicket stand with Moeen, was in tears at the post-match ceremony.

"Probably what happened over the winter is still there, getting hammered in Australia," Cook said. "There is that lasting effect, even with a different side. It's still the England side.

"But you saw Jimmy, right at the end. I think that just shows to everybody who doesn't really know us as blokes what it means to us to play for England.

"You sometimes get accused of not caring that much, especially when things don't go that well. But that was the raw emotion to a guy who has put everything into 83 minutes of batting. If it was 84, we'd be sitting here with a smile on our faces."

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Abhijeet on June 27, 2014, 13:53 GMT

    alastair cook is just a very very good player......his current form has been bad.......other than that dont forget what a player he jas been...........over 8000 test runs at an age of just 30....this is his bad time and i am preety sure he will bounce back to answer all the critisism that he is facing

  • ESPN on June 26, 2014, 13:48 GMT

    Cook will come good soon! All good cricketers and captains have had their patches.

  • Dummy4 on June 26, 2014, 13:05 GMT

    I feel Cook should be dropped as a player, because in recent times, not only has he been scoring runs, but also not been a good captain. He also has not stepped up as a captain when needed to and is yet to prove that England is worthy of holding the no.1 position in test rankings. Stuart Broad has the potential to be England's next test captain. The upcoming India series should be a deciding path for Cook.. Due to his poor captaincy ECB axed an amazing player in KP. If Cook due fail in this series, ECB should do what they did with KP...

  • C on June 26, 2014, 12:29 GMT

    Cook may never have quit on anything, but there must come a time - like now - when his employers, the ECB, have to terminate his services without his acquiescence fro non-performance. After all, he has not made an effective contribution as captain, or with bat, for a long time.

  • David on June 26, 2014, 7:43 GMT

    I'm not a fan of Cook - the Captain (I regard him highly as a batsman). As a captain, I think he has lacked the imagination and has been too risk averse. Having said that, I commend him for his comments in this article. You don't give up just because you lose a few games and a couple of journalists ask some tough questions. What Cook needs to do is learn from these losses and improve his tactical game. I believe he has the support of the players which makes it a lot easier. Let's hope he shows some improvement in the series against India. He may still become one of the best England captains ever. (an Aus perspective)

  • sidh on June 26, 2014, 7:41 GMT

    dear alipk SL just won a series in eng against weak team. india won many series in england against strong eng team.india won many test in australia & draw many series& SL not win a single test in austrolia & lost all test series with whitewash & you say indian batsman can not play on bouncy seaming track.what a joke.in recent SA NZ test series indian batsman played very well.against SA they made above 600 runs in First test but indian bowler were useless other wise india won both test series.

  • Dean on June 26, 2014, 7:20 GMT

    @Who cares about IPL, In terms of selection for the Ind series surely the priorty at the moment has to be to get a slow bowler in to the side? Given this I think the selection of Stokes for the series would be very difficult. Assuming Anderson continues to lead the attack for the rest of the summer that would mean 1 of Broad, Jordan or Plunkett being dropped to accomodate the spinner. We are then back to an attack of 3 seam 1 spin (5th bowler Moen) and I don't see how you would then drop another of the aforementioned seam trio to bring Stokes in. Although Stokes took career best bowling figs this week IMO he is still only a 4th seamer. If he is going to come in it would be as an allrounder the role which Moen is currently playing. It's now impossible to drop Moen & given how the rest of the batting unit performed there also isn't the option to drop 1 of the top 5 & push Moen up, therefore I think Stokes will have to bide his time for now.

  • Sheethal on June 26, 2014, 6:09 GMT

    @ mshyder look @ the facts & you will come to know...SL has mostly played in SC for the last 3-4yrs without winning any Test series....When they traveled overseas, they got hammered by 3-0 in AUS!!!

  • Android on June 26, 2014, 5:41 GMT

    Good on you Cook. you are a great player and the right one to lead. All have bad patches but Cook will get through and be more tactical once back in form.

  • Muhammad on June 26, 2014, 5:00 GMT

    @ KrikIndFan, please be realistic, the only reason for the high Indian ranking is because of their high number of games on home ground other wise their ranking would be far below SL, somewhere around WI for that matter. Someone with even a little cricket sense can not deny that.

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