England news April 20, 2014

Cook relief after period in limbo

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Alastair Cook admitted he had felt in limbo since returning from Australia and is now energised by the prospect of being able to begin forging the next generation of the England team alongside Peter Moores.

Cook was told of Moores' appointment for his second stint as England coach on Friday afternoon, bringing an end to an uncertain couple of months for him where he has been eager to start planning how to arrest England's winter decline but was unable to talk to the man in charge because his identity was unknown. He also said that the split coaching set-up, implemented in early 2013, had been "very hard to manage" and that one man in overall charge was the ideal way forward.

There was a sense, too, as Cook spoke at Lord's following the announcement of Moores' return five years after being sacked, that he is going to embrace the chance to put his mark on English cricket with more than just runs (although they, too, have been in short supply). It was, perhaps, a partial admission that the team Cook inherited from Andrew Strauss had not accepted the methods that work for one captain-coach combination do not always translate to a new pairing.

Cook, looking refreshed and chipper following a pre-season where he has been able to concentrate on himself for a few weeks (a small benefit of the state of flux English cricket has been in, plus his absence from the T20 side) and after a hundred last week for Essex, opted for a touch of self-depreciation as he summed up his roller-coaster captaincy to date.

"As a captain I seem to have got rid of two coaches and an MD, so not sure what has quite happened," he said. "It's been an amazing 18 months. I had Andy as the full-time coach, then Andy Flower and Ashley Giles as coaches and now Peter. Over 18 months that's quite a lot to deal with.

"We have been in limbo the last couple of months, coming back from Australia, devastated with what happened, and you start to think about how to turn things around. You have a lot of ideas, talk to a lot of people but you can't actually follow through until the head coach came in. When I found who it was, it was a weight off my shoulders. I can now pick up the phone and talk cricket."

Giles lost out due to concerns over his lack of experience - seven years as a coach compared to Moores' 16 - and Cook said he was "gutted" for him, acknowledging that Giles "found his hands were tied" at certain times while sharing the job with Flower, but that the attempt to divide the coaching workload had been worth trying.

"The idea behind it was good, to keep Andy involved. He couldn't have carried on as he was. We won some good cricket - India and the Ashes - so it did work in that sense but it is very hard to manage that situation because, as Ashley would say, he probably found his hands were tied. It was quite a big change. It was an experiment worth trying, but if you can find a guy with the energy to do all three forms it's a better way forward.

"Giles is a very good guy and was desperate to become England coach. Unfortunately you have to make tough decisions as the leader of any company and Paul [Downton] has made that tough decision. I don't think you can say the players let Ashley down. We all got behind him, liked his methods, worked hard and enjoyed working under him. Peter has 16 years of coaching experience and has been successful and Paul thought it would be wrong to ignore that.

"I've got on really well with Peter, not only the time where he was England coach but we did quite a lot of work on the Academy together before that. I think he's a really good coach, a brilliant coach in fact, and a really good person."

Cook's captaincy has come in for some strong criticism - not just during the 5-0 Ashes whitewash - and Moores made clear reference to playing a new 'brand' of cricket. Cook insisted he will not make any radical personal changes, citing his success in India and last year's home Ashes as supporting evidence in his favour, but conceded that there is now a chance to start afresh.

"That would be wrong because it's not who I am," he said when asked if there will a new Alastair Cook on display. "The crucial thing is making good decisions on the field and off the field, and creating a culture and an image of an England cricket team which I will be proud of.

"We got outplayed totally in Australia so to blame it just on my captaincy would be slightly wrong. But I certainly think I inherited a side from Straussy and Flower, and now it does seem a bit of a clean break with the new head coach. So, to me, it is the start of it."

Quite what the new style of England will be is not yet clear, with Moores reluctant to talk in much detail on Friday - beyond mentions of pride and passion, which should be prerequisites in international sport - and Cook did not want to elaborate before having a chance to sit down together. An attempt to replicate Australia's playbook, which so overwhelmed England, appears unlikely (partly because of the lack of 90mph bowlers) although Cook conceded many lessons can be learned from how they transformed their fortunes.

"I think there's certainly a number of things they did very well as a side, and I think it would be wrong not to look at it and go 'yeah, they got the whole country behind them'. They did it to their strengths," he said.

"So there's no point us playing the way Australia played, because you need those kind of players to do it, and obviously Darren Lehmann and Michael Clarke had to be given a lot of credit for recognising the strengths of their side and playing to their strengths, and we're going to have to look at our side and play to their strengths. I'm not going to bat like David Warner, no matter how many people want me to, that's not going to work."

Since returning from Australia, Cook has become a father with the birth of his daughter, Elsie, and while he used the word "perspective" he insisted there has been no dulling in his desire to embark on what could be a long rebirth for English cricket.

"Being a dad is the best thing you can do, it's very exciting, it's all new. You look at her and think of the life she will have in front of her, you just don't know, so you end up thinking more about her than yourself. But I also have a job to do which is one I'm very proud of and we have an opportunity now to try and start again and rebuild."

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • landl47 on April 21, 2014, 3:50 GMT

    Cook's a good man and a very hard worker, so if England don't succeed it won't be for lack of effort on his part.

    There is going to be a change in the culture of the side with Swann, Trott and Pietersen gone, as well as Strauss and Flower from the England set-up of 2009-2012, and it's going to take a while for the replacements to get comfortable in their roles. Hopefully Prior will rediscover his best form and with Bell and Anderson form an experienced support group for Cook as the new boys come in.

    Personally I'm looking forward to seeing England reshape the side- it's exciting to watch new players adapt to test cricket.

  • SamWintson92 on April 23, 2014, 12:02 GMT

    1. There's an another way to take every weights off from the shoulder of Cook. The way is by sacking him from captaincy. He's a terrible captain. 2. I prefer Ian Bell as the test captain & Eoin Morgan as the ODI/T20I captain. 3. Any Eng article, I intend to write KEVIN PIETERSEN SHOULD BE BROUGHT BACK IN ENGLAND TEAM.

  • on April 23, 2014, 9:04 GMT

    A_Vacant_Slip The whole of England has started saying it then why not we?Do not think that Cook is performing his captaincy duties very well.It was one of the worst decisions to retire KP.And we had come to England in 2011 as a team of players who were going to retire and also with the world cup win nobody cared for that tour.And with the 2012 series win we were just building a team with Sachin out of form and planning to retire.Now that we have a balanced side we do not care about our overseas troubles.We just want to compete with the same rebuilding England side and try our best to win.

  • A_Vacant_Slip on April 22, 2014, 10:30 GMT

    @BigINDFan on (April 21, 2014, 20:27 GMT) Very funny you say "The issue is with Cook as a captain". I would say India fan issue with Cook is that he is such a good player. Remember - it was Cook who destroy India very comprehensively in India in last Test series in India. AND he will destroy India again in England in a few week time. All of India know and fear this - which is why so many Indian call for his head.

  • RednWhiteArmy on April 22, 2014, 7:55 GMT

    Why is it all the indian fans are reciting shane warne's opinion about cook? Im an England fan & im happy with cook being captain, lets be honest here, he's only lost one series as captain.

  • Shah343 on April 22, 2014, 2:02 GMT

    "I'm not going to bat like David Warner, no matter how many people want me to, that's not going to work." LOL i cannot believe he said that! Super Unprofessional really "no matter how many people want me to, that's not going to work." thats the first i have heard a player comparing to another teams player like that! Who demanded that anyway. Cook and warner are completely different seriously wwhy did say that! this shows that he has had enough of the TREMENDOUS PRESSURE

  • on April 22, 2014, 1:37 GMT

    No mention of Varun Chopra??

  • Rally_Windies on April 21, 2014, 23:14 GMT

    A five year plan of revenge has come to fruition ! The entire thing is as clear as Day now ...

    Flower and Broad were but Pawns, used to destroy KP .... Moore, through his pal Paul Downton, has always been in the plan to destroy KP ....

    well played Sirs .. well played ....

  • BigINDFan on April 21, 2014, 20:27 GMT

    It is good that Eng has one coach and no matter whether he is really good or average is not a big issue. The issue is with Cook as a captain. He needs to be sacked as his body language was horrible in Australia. So if Paul Downton can say KP was disengaged and sack him then Cook was no better in not inspiring his team. He needs to find his batting form and for that he should not focus on captaincy. Then the next step is to evaluate the talent pool for all 3 formats and pick the best team and reserves. Try them out giving opportunities and coaching and then reevaluate. A new captain and a new philosophy of enjoying cricket will help Eng be successful. Hopefully Trott comes back to a fun environment.

    My vote for captain is Ian Bell for Tests and ODI. For T20 it should be Tim Bresnan. KP should be brought back to T20s and ODI teams but not Tests. Start fresh including the captain.

  • anuradea on April 21, 2014, 20:12 GMT

    England needs a stronger captain who can get the best out of the seniors, if any left. How come what happened in the winter is all KP's fault??? Seems he is the only one who had to pay for the dismal winter. Did Anderson give away 30 in an over, and no other batsman got a 100 because of KP. And all the crucial catches were dropped by KP?? This is a big Joke. Already I see a disfunction as cooke is saying that he will not make drastic changes and Moore is saying he will play a different brand of cricket. It is great to have ideas, but where is Moores going to find the players to play his brand of cricket. All england seem to have is the run of the mill cricketers who are good at county level. Where are the Malinga, Mendises,perera's and Narines and may others who are unusual and exiting. This day and age you can not have batsmen who can only play in the V, and the bowlers who can bowl line and length, you need the unauthodox players who can score runs and take wickets.

  • landl47 on April 21, 2014, 3:50 GMT

    Cook's a good man and a very hard worker, so if England don't succeed it won't be for lack of effort on his part.

    There is going to be a change in the culture of the side with Swann, Trott and Pietersen gone, as well as Strauss and Flower from the England set-up of 2009-2012, and it's going to take a while for the replacements to get comfortable in their roles. Hopefully Prior will rediscover his best form and with Bell and Anderson form an experienced support group for Cook as the new boys come in.

    Personally I'm looking forward to seeing England reshape the side- it's exciting to watch new players adapt to test cricket.

  • SamWintson92 on April 23, 2014, 12:02 GMT

    1. There's an another way to take every weights off from the shoulder of Cook. The way is by sacking him from captaincy. He's a terrible captain. 2. I prefer Ian Bell as the test captain & Eoin Morgan as the ODI/T20I captain. 3. Any Eng article, I intend to write KEVIN PIETERSEN SHOULD BE BROUGHT BACK IN ENGLAND TEAM.

  • on April 23, 2014, 9:04 GMT

    A_Vacant_Slip The whole of England has started saying it then why not we?Do not think that Cook is performing his captaincy duties very well.It was one of the worst decisions to retire KP.And we had come to England in 2011 as a team of players who were going to retire and also with the world cup win nobody cared for that tour.And with the 2012 series win we were just building a team with Sachin out of form and planning to retire.Now that we have a balanced side we do not care about our overseas troubles.We just want to compete with the same rebuilding England side and try our best to win.

  • A_Vacant_Slip on April 22, 2014, 10:30 GMT

    @BigINDFan on (April 21, 2014, 20:27 GMT) Very funny you say "The issue is with Cook as a captain". I would say India fan issue with Cook is that he is such a good player. Remember - it was Cook who destroy India very comprehensively in India in last Test series in India. AND he will destroy India again in England in a few week time. All of India know and fear this - which is why so many Indian call for his head.

  • RednWhiteArmy on April 22, 2014, 7:55 GMT

    Why is it all the indian fans are reciting shane warne's opinion about cook? Im an England fan & im happy with cook being captain, lets be honest here, he's only lost one series as captain.

  • Shah343 on April 22, 2014, 2:02 GMT

    "I'm not going to bat like David Warner, no matter how many people want me to, that's not going to work." LOL i cannot believe he said that! Super Unprofessional really "no matter how many people want me to, that's not going to work." thats the first i have heard a player comparing to another teams player like that! Who demanded that anyway. Cook and warner are completely different seriously wwhy did say that! this shows that he has had enough of the TREMENDOUS PRESSURE

  • on April 22, 2014, 1:37 GMT

    No mention of Varun Chopra??

  • Rally_Windies on April 21, 2014, 23:14 GMT

    A five year plan of revenge has come to fruition ! The entire thing is as clear as Day now ...

    Flower and Broad were but Pawns, used to destroy KP .... Moore, through his pal Paul Downton, has always been in the plan to destroy KP ....

    well played Sirs .. well played ....

  • BigINDFan on April 21, 2014, 20:27 GMT

    It is good that Eng has one coach and no matter whether he is really good or average is not a big issue. The issue is with Cook as a captain. He needs to be sacked as his body language was horrible in Australia. So if Paul Downton can say KP was disengaged and sack him then Cook was no better in not inspiring his team. He needs to find his batting form and for that he should not focus on captaincy. Then the next step is to evaluate the talent pool for all 3 formats and pick the best team and reserves. Try them out giving opportunities and coaching and then reevaluate. A new captain and a new philosophy of enjoying cricket will help Eng be successful. Hopefully Trott comes back to a fun environment.

    My vote for captain is Ian Bell for Tests and ODI. For T20 it should be Tim Bresnan. KP should be brought back to T20s and ODI teams but not Tests. Start fresh including the captain.

  • anuradea on April 21, 2014, 20:12 GMT

    England needs a stronger captain who can get the best out of the seniors, if any left. How come what happened in the winter is all KP's fault??? Seems he is the only one who had to pay for the dismal winter. Did Anderson give away 30 in an over, and no other batsman got a 100 because of KP. And all the crucial catches were dropped by KP?? This is a big Joke. Already I see a disfunction as cooke is saying that he will not make drastic changes and Moore is saying he will play a different brand of cricket. It is great to have ideas, but where is Moores going to find the players to play his brand of cricket. All england seem to have is the run of the mill cricketers who are good at county level. Where are the Malinga, Mendises,perera's and Narines and may others who are unusual and exiting. This day and age you can not have batsmen who can only play in the V, and the bowlers who can bowl line and length, you need the unauthodox players who can score runs and take wickets.

  • dabbadubba on April 21, 2014, 15:31 GMT

    without KP, it will be a long road back to success for cook.

  • Jaffa79 on April 21, 2014, 15:09 GMT

    Team: Cook, Robson, Taylor, Bell, Root, Stokes (Ali until Stokes is fit), Prior, Broad, Jordan, Anderson, Panesar. Now, that is a dour top order but Robson deserves a go, as does Taylor who has been knocking on the door for a long time and had an excellent winter. Prior is easily still the best keeper-batsman in the country and hopefully will be back to his best. Jordan looks the business and I'd retain Monty reluctantly as I feel he is still the best we have got. Borthwick is a batsman who wouldn't bowl a lot in club cricket! NOT a test spinner or do we need the Sri Lankans to murder him a few times for people to realise this? Kerrigan's temperament is suspect and his action looks highly flawed (no run up and no front arm!). Woakes seems a nice lad and would get runs at number 8 but his bowling is military medium and akin to throw downs at this level. I just hope that we don't get carried away with getting pace in; Mills is nowhere near ready and Overton might come through later on.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on April 21, 2014, 13:36 GMT

    There's only one way for England to go from here, and that's upwards. There's a decent number of young players coming through, and class players like Cook, Bell and Prior are bound to recuperate their missing form at some point one would hope. The balance of the team will be the big factor for me. Trott's absence leaves a gaping hole at 3; Root is not a test opener for me and there are question marks over the likes of Carberry, so who will partner Cook? KP gone obviously... Swann gone and I believe a frontline spinner is a must in tests... Really hope Onions gets chances, and Finn deserves consideration too. Stokes and Woakes still knocking on the door for a possible all-rounder slot... Exciting times lie ahead.

  • cloudmess on April 21, 2014, 12:30 GMT

    I'm not at all optimistic about the next 2 or 3 years with English's current personnel - and Moores is a shocking appointment, made for dubious reasons. It would be lovely if they prove otherwise, but I think we're in for a distinctly middling, mediocre period.

  • on April 21, 2014, 11:10 GMT

    Cook is just a looser ..... Nothing else...... Bring back KP plsssss

  • on April 21, 2014, 9:44 GMT

    Leave everyone who has played before for England, just imagine u have a blank peace of paper with one person on it and that being captain Cook. Every position has to now be earned. Opening partner will be either Carrbery after his disappointing Ashes or Sam Robson the lad who has scored here and Sri Lanka. No.3 James Taylor with his brilliant double in Sri Lanka or Moeen Ali who batted decently in the Caribbean. No. 4 is pretty much confirmed Bell. No.5 can be 1 of 4, Root the offspring, Ballance the form man, Vince the other form man or Morgan who has been around for a bit now. No.6 will either be stokes or Rachel. Keeper will most probably be Buttler or Bairstow. Bowlers should be Broad, Finn, Anderson and Monty

  • southstoke49 on April 21, 2014, 9:23 GMT

    Can't believe he said:"So there's no point us playing the way Australia played (what winning!), because you need those kind of players to do it".

    We have those players it is just we are unable to manage them. The near future is looking very bleak.

  • southstoke49 on April 21, 2014, 6:42 GMT

    It is interesting how this will be managed, there seems to be a nucleus of players who they hope to retain, who barring Anderson have never really hit consistency. Bell has had a few decent series but has had several poor ones between and never dominates at the crease but steadily accumulates while Cook seems to have a similar CV. The others who should be considered are Broad and Anderson but that is really about it. Of the rest who were regulars: Prior was so poor in Australia I am not sure he should be reconsidered again while Root has been about ok at 6 while it is a bit early to judge Stokes who is batted too high anyway. Carberry looked ok but will probably be tarnished as a Maverick and had a higher average than Cook which usually means non selection. This then brings us on to the greatest recent failing of the Flower regime which is having hardly any players in waiting.

  • muzika_tchaikovskogo on April 21, 2014, 5:58 GMT

    Some more years of middling performances from England- they're never going to be the best as long as English cricket persists with its 'one size fits all' approach.

  • RednWhiteArmy on April 21, 2014, 5:00 GMT

    This is an exciting time to be an England fan. Seeing which players come in & take their chance. For me Gary Ballance looks a good prospect, averaging 52.7 in FC. Also would like to see Borthwick given a chance to shine. For me the team for SL test series should be 1 Cook 2 Robson/Compton 3 Bell 4 Ballance/Morgan 5 Moeen Ali 6 Borthwick 7 Prior 8 Stokes 9 Broad 10 Anderson 11 Onions. Bats well down to 8, has a legspinner + Moeen Ali's fingerspin & 4 seamers.

  • stalefresh on April 21, 2014, 4:36 GMT

    A revival of england cricket team under cook as likely as alien invasion of earth.

  • dunger.bob on April 21, 2014, 3:15 GMT

    Cook always interviews well. He speaks openly, honestly and intelligently. I can understand his relief at finally knowing who the new boss is. The line has been marked and now he can start making solid plans to turn the ship around.

    Why is Flower still lurking about though? As an outsider, it seems a very curious situation. Perhaps it makes perfect sense if you're English.

    Anyway, this is the start of the new era for English cricket, so let's hope they have a bloody good crack at it.

  • kensohatter on April 21, 2014, 1:13 GMT

    I disagree with a lot thats gone on with the ECB of late but at least now they have some direction. Cooks captaincy will be defined by his next 2yrs. If he cant turn this around he will be remembered as one of Englands amazing batting talents with poor leadership skills. I disagree with the sacking of KP because it takes a match winner from the side and too compete with sides like australia and SA you need that however the side still has potential. Bell, Anderson, Broad and Cook himself is a solid nucleaus. Add Root and Stokes and this side should beat most teams at home. The prob is the frequency with which they play Australia and the importance placed on that series. If England beat WI, Ind, SL, Pak, NZ and lose to Aust in the ashes id say most english supporters would still say that is a failure. My prediction. Cook will be the new Ponting... a great bat who lost too many ashes series as captain

  • D-Ascendant on April 21, 2014, 1:10 GMT

    Given Cook's unimaginative captaincy and uninspired leadership, is he really the man who should be in charge of "forging the next generation of the England team"?

  • on April 21, 2014, 0:47 GMT

    So the plum LBW cook was getting from Ryan Harris without offering the bat and starting the procession of wickets in ten innings in a series is forgiven and taken as "engaging" and trustworthy to build another era of ENG cricket?

  • on April 20, 2014, 20:16 GMT

    I'm glad Moores has been given another chance and that Cook is ready to work with him, however I just hope this new generation doesn't mean cutting out older experienced players like Bell and Anderson and that it also allows Trott the chance to get back in the side once and if he is fit to play again. As for who should replace Swann, I think Kerrigan should be allowed another chance and so should Borthwick with both of them being good prospects. Maybe Tredwell should be allowed a chance too due to him being like Swann a good off spinner and also being able to bat a bit too.

  • on April 20, 2014, 20:13 GMT

    England vl have tough time in near future.

  • 200ondebut on April 20, 2014, 18:37 GMT

    So Cook admits that the management of the national side was in chaos - so who gets the bullet. Thats right our best player.

    What Clarke/Lehmann did was bring together a dysfunctional side - a side within which one of their leading players was called "a cancer". They didnt boot him out - they brought him back in.

    A strong message if ever there was one. And we can now see the outcome of that.

  • Scrop on April 20, 2014, 18:34 GMT

    Bad signs for England and Cook.

  • Scrop on April 20, 2014, 18:34 GMT

    Bad signs for England and Cook.

  • 200ondebut on April 20, 2014, 18:37 GMT

    So Cook admits that the management of the national side was in chaos - so who gets the bullet. Thats right our best player.

    What Clarke/Lehmann did was bring together a dysfunctional side - a side within which one of their leading players was called "a cancer". They didnt boot him out - they brought him back in.

    A strong message if ever there was one. And we can now see the outcome of that.

  • on April 20, 2014, 20:13 GMT

    England vl have tough time in near future.

  • on April 20, 2014, 20:16 GMT

    I'm glad Moores has been given another chance and that Cook is ready to work with him, however I just hope this new generation doesn't mean cutting out older experienced players like Bell and Anderson and that it also allows Trott the chance to get back in the side once and if he is fit to play again. As for who should replace Swann, I think Kerrigan should be allowed another chance and so should Borthwick with both of them being good prospects. Maybe Tredwell should be allowed a chance too due to him being like Swann a good off spinner and also being able to bat a bit too.

  • on April 21, 2014, 0:47 GMT

    So the plum LBW cook was getting from Ryan Harris without offering the bat and starting the procession of wickets in ten innings in a series is forgiven and taken as "engaging" and trustworthy to build another era of ENG cricket?

  • D-Ascendant on April 21, 2014, 1:10 GMT

    Given Cook's unimaginative captaincy and uninspired leadership, is he really the man who should be in charge of "forging the next generation of the England team"?

  • kensohatter on April 21, 2014, 1:13 GMT

    I disagree with a lot thats gone on with the ECB of late but at least now they have some direction. Cooks captaincy will be defined by his next 2yrs. If he cant turn this around he will be remembered as one of Englands amazing batting talents with poor leadership skills. I disagree with the sacking of KP because it takes a match winner from the side and too compete with sides like australia and SA you need that however the side still has potential. Bell, Anderson, Broad and Cook himself is a solid nucleaus. Add Root and Stokes and this side should beat most teams at home. The prob is the frequency with which they play Australia and the importance placed on that series. If England beat WI, Ind, SL, Pak, NZ and lose to Aust in the ashes id say most english supporters would still say that is a failure. My prediction. Cook will be the new Ponting... a great bat who lost too many ashes series as captain

  • dunger.bob on April 21, 2014, 3:15 GMT

    Cook always interviews well. He speaks openly, honestly and intelligently. I can understand his relief at finally knowing who the new boss is. The line has been marked and now he can start making solid plans to turn the ship around.

    Why is Flower still lurking about though? As an outsider, it seems a very curious situation. Perhaps it makes perfect sense if you're English.

    Anyway, this is the start of the new era for English cricket, so let's hope they have a bloody good crack at it.

  • stalefresh on April 21, 2014, 4:36 GMT

    A revival of england cricket team under cook as likely as alien invasion of earth.

  • RednWhiteArmy on April 21, 2014, 5:00 GMT

    This is an exciting time to be an England fan. Seeing which players come in & take their chance. For me Gary Ballance looks a good prospect, averaging 52.7 in FC. Also would like to see Borthwick given a chance to shine. For me the team for SL test series should be 1 Cook 2 Robson/Compton 3 Bell 4 Ballance/Morgan 5 Moeen Ali 6 Borthwick 7 Prior 8 Stokes 9 Broad 10 Anderson 11 Onions. Bats well down to 8, has a legspinner + Moeen Ali's fingerspin & 4 seamers.