England news March 18, 2015

England were wrong to sack me - Cook

ESPNcricinfo staff
74

Alastair Cook said hindsight suggested he should not have been sacked as England's ODI captain © Getty Images

Alastair Cook has claimed that the ECB's decision to relieve him of the England captaincy a matter of weeks before the World Cup has been proved wrong in hindsight and described the players as looking "shellshocked" during a disastrous campaign that ended at the group stage.

Cook was sacked in December, amid worsening results and after going more than two years without an ODI hundred. Speaking in Dubai for the launch of the Emirates T20 - Cook is in the UAE to take part in the Champion County match between MCC against Yorkshire - he said that England appeared to lack for leadership after heavy defeats against Australia and New Zealand in their first two World Cup games set them on the road to an early exit.

"I'm always going to have a slightly biased view on that. I was there for three-and-a-half years trying to do a job," he said. "We got to number one in the world with a full strength side and got to the final of the Champions Trophy. There were things I can be very proud of. As any captain will tell you, leading your country in a World Cup is a huge honour and one that can never be taken lightly. I was very much looking forward to that.

"I understand the pressure I was under. I wasn't scoring the runs I should, or could, have been scoring, so I understand that my position was in jeopardy. I said at the end of Sri Lanka that if there was a change, I couldn't complain because I hadn't scored the runs.

"But I think you saw in Australia the dangers of making such a big decision so close to the tournament. I don't know what's gone on on that tour, and I can only speak from watching a little bit from afar, but it did look like the lads were shellshocked from the first two games. That's when you need real leadership to help steer you through that. Whether I would have made a difference, I don't know. But I was fully confident we would get out of our group, and from there, you've got to win three games in a row - that's how this World Cup has worked.

"I can't speak about what's gone on there in depth, but you always back yourself, and I would have loved to have had the opportunity that was taken away from me. The selectors made that decision because they thought it was the best for English cricket. Hindsight has probably proved them wrong, but now it's very easy to say that."

Cook has been training with Essex since his removal, preparing for England's Test tour of the West Indies, the squad for which was announced on Wednesday. The dismal World Cup showing has increased the pressure on head coach Peter Moores - who, as one of the selectors, was involved in the ODI captaincy decision - but Cook reiterated his support.

"As always in this day and age - we talk about football managers and it's coming into cricket now, it's a results-driven business," he said. "There's no doubt about it, there's pressure on him. There's pressure on all of us. All I can say is that I've really, really enjoyed working with Peter. In my eyes, he's a fantastic coach who needs a bit of luck for that to come out. I enjoy working with him and the lads do. I hope he stays and gets the opportunity to turn it round. I've only got good things to say about him."

England's success in coming from 1-0 down to beat India 3-1 in the Test series last summer was one of the reasons the management persisted with Cook in charge of the one-day side. The encouragement of three successive Test victories has long since dissipated, however, as England lurched through six months of ODI cricket in preparation for the World Cup, which included heavy reverses against India and Sri Lanka.

Cook conceded that, a year after England's post-Ashes rebuilding job began, they would have to start the job of changing perceptions once again.

"What's happened this winter, the fans will be feeling disappointed, and there's a bit of doom and gloom about English cricket," he said. "We've got the responsibility as a Test side, a different format, to go out and try and change that and start turning it around again. That is the challenge we've got.

"We built that momentum a little bit after the Ashes with a slightly younger side, including the likes of Gary Ballance and Joe Root. There was a feel-good factor about the English game in the middle of August after the Test matches. Since then, it's been tough going. We've got to rebuild again."

Asked whether the Test team's momentum had been lost, Cook replied: "I wouldn't say all of it has been, but a hell of a lot of it has been. You have to remember that it is a different format and you get a change, but all teams are grouped under the same English cricket umbrella, and we can't be naive enough to think that it's not. We have a repairing job to do, and the only way of doing that is by playing some good cricket and to start winning."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on March 21, 2015, 9:58 GMT

    Just watched NZ vs WI, I wonder if Cook & Moores learnt anything from it? Guptill (an opener Mr Cook) hit 237 off 163 balls at a s.r. of 145. I think this illustrates how sad, pathetic and massively delusional Cook, Morgan & the entire England management set-up really are. To compete with players like Guptill, B Mc Warner etc. in this kind of cricket England have not got any likely competitive cricketers anywhere, in fact at the rate the ECB adjust to reality probably means that they have not even been born yet. As an England fan the WC has been a chastening experience & I feel badly let down.

    It was good to see Chris Gayle make a point of congratulating Guptill on his double ton.

  • David on March 20, 2015, 18:18 GMT

    For once, Cook is right. There was a 'danger(s) of making such a big decision so close to the tournament.' He should have been sacked long before - as always with the ECB it was too little too late.

  • MANEESH on March 20, 2015, 16:29 GMT

    Alistair Cook found a strange way to tackle spin against India, in India. This is Cook's biggest achievement. As far as English World Cup 2015 journey is concerned, there was some unusual team selection that caused problems.It seems that England selectors were flummoxed. Gary Ballance, James Taylor should not have played. Absence of opener like Jason Roy added to the problems. Every English bowler in this tournament was either overdoing things or doing nothing. Eoin Morgan's personal form was not at its best throughout tournament. Although, Eoin Morgan is a very good player and will hopefully come up with big scores. Cricket is a team game and every team has to have some players who can give their best when required. These big occasion players were missing in England squad. Eoin Morgan cannot be blamed for England's loss,and Cook's presence could have hardly made any difference.

  • MANEESH on March 20, 2015, 16:27 GMT

    Alistair Cook found a strange way to tackle spin against India, in India. This is Cook's biggest achievement. As far as English World Cup 2015 journey is concerned, there was some unusual team selection that caused problems.It seems that England selectors were flummoxed. Gary Ballance, James Taylor should not have played. Absence of opener like Jason Roy added to the problems. Every English bowler in this tournament was either overdoing things or doing nothing. Eoin Morgan's personal form was not at its best throughout tournament. Although, Eoin Morgan is a very good player and will hopefully come up with big scores. Cricket is a team game and every team has to have some players who can give their best when required. These big occasion players were missing in England squad. Eoin Morgan cannot be blamed for England's loss,and Cook's presence could have hardly made any difference.

  • Paddy on March 20, 2015, 11:26 GMT

    England are a good Test side but not all that good in the shorter forms of the game.Guys like Root,Bell and Balance are really meant for the longer game.Morgan is their best one day player and it just so happened that the burden of captaincy got to him.Their reluctance to play in tournaments such as IPL puts them a bit out of date,as far as innovation is concerned

    The same old story-the traditional power getting out of date.Its the same with their football,and has been so for a long,long time

  • Nicholas on March 20, 2015, 8:41 GMT

    523 runs from 20 games during 2014; passing 50 only once in that time... Sure Alastair - that's exactly the kind of form/stats England needed/deserved to win the World Cup. Maybe that wicket you took against India in a test makes you think you should have been in the side as a bowler? Couldn't have done any worse than most of the other bowlers who did get an extended run.

  • John on March 19, 2015, 21:47 GMT

    @_-WILL-_ - Thanks for the comms and you don't sound patronising at all. Cook had to go but I'm not sure what he's complaining about. He's talking like he had been doing/would have done different things. In truth Morgan and Cook just carried out Moores plans , Cook predictably - Morgan less so. When we beat you in the warm up games I said I didn't think it meant we were going places and it didn't mean India weren't. It's proved to be just that. India look like getting to the semis and could well win it and Eng are out. We're not a good ODI side but I didn't think we'd be this bad

  • John on March 19, 2015, 21:46 GMT

    hindsight tells me is that Moores should have gone at the same time.But despite the results in SL being poor there were encouraging signs.We found a promising number 3 /Woakes had upped his pace and started to show more control.With test players Broad/Jimmy to return an attack of Broad,Jimmy,Woakes/Finn,Tredwell,Ali, Bopara looked ok. However I didn't envisage him dropping Tredwell , Bopara (inc not giving him bowling duties) and Taylor being shoved down the order to make way for Ballance. Nor could I see Broad/Morgan being in such dire form and Jimmy going off the boil. Sure few could see such issues with these 3 but Moores needed to be stronger and drop them. Broad was the worst case. Rather than drop him after multiple failures he rewarded him with the new ball.

  • Jeff on March 19, 2015, 17:31 GMT

    Cook has demonstrated no leadership skills in any format of the game. The much heralded wins in the India tour came entirely on the back of India's batsmen imploding, thinking they were playing twenty twenty and trying to hit every ball out of the park - that also made a very ordinary bowler in Moeen Ali look like he is good enough to bowl in professional cricket (he isnt)

  • Arif on March 19, 2015, 16:45 GMT

    England were wrong to sack KP would have bee right sentence.

  • No featured comments at the moment.