Australia v England, 4th Test, Melbourne, 4th day December 29, 2013

Cook commits to England captaincy


Alastair Cook insisted he was "100% wanting to carry on" as England captain but was obliged to defend his senior players, the side's coaches and his own position in the aftermath of defeat in Melbourne.

The England captain, leading a side that is 4-0 down and in danger of succumbing to a whitewash, has failed to score a century in nine Tests against Australia over the last six months and has seemed unable to inspire his team to lift their performances in the current series.

But Cook, who led England to victory in India and Ashes success in England in his first 12 months in the job, claimed his appetite for the job was as strong as ever and reiterated his faith in the side's senior players and coaching staff.

"I'm 100% wanting to carry on," Cook said. "I'm enjoying the job and I'm enjoying the challenge. I've got no plans of going anywhere. I'm desperately trying to use as much as my experience of playing 100 Tests to help turn this team around.

"If, at the end of the series the selectors decide I'm not the best man for the job then so be it. If someone makes that decision, and says 'we think there's a better man' or 'you're not good enough to do it' then it would hurt but, I would have to take that on the chin.

"We've some very good players in our dressing room. We've some record-breaking players who will have some fantastic days left in an England shirt. I know that for sure. And we'll be praising them when they do that.

"I'm fully supportive of our coaching staff. We've had some fantastic results. It wasn't so long ago we won in India with this same coaching staff, against Australia with the same coaching staff."

"They're decisions which can be made later and down the line. That's why people higher up than me are paid money to make those decisions. If they think that's the way to go - with all those decisions, captain, coach, whatever - then that's the way it is.

"We can only concentrate on what we do from now, trying to regroup and put in a performance in Sydney."

While accepting that back-to-back Ashes series had proved quite a burden for the players, something Kevin Pietersen spoke about on Saturday, Cook dismissed the notion that it could excuse their poor performances.

"I think 10 back-to-back Test matches is a big ask," he said. "But the bottom line is it's the same for both sides and one side has handled it a lot better than the other side. They are playing some better cricket now than we are. To use that as an excuse would be wrong.

"When we left England, we had high hopes of doing something very special. I did say at the time, we'd have to play some very good cricket if we wanted to achieve that and we haven't done that. The bottom line is we haven't been good enough."

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Mark on December 30, 2013, 14:47 GMT

    This is the right way forward. Captain and Coach if they are allowed to stay on by the management should stay on.England team players and Captain and coach. Have the next five months off.So they can go and rethink and reflect on the Australian tour. Meanwhile Australia has a tough assignment in South Africa. If Australia perform poorly there or get beaten by South Africa. Then we will know it is the same weak Aussie side before the Ashes.No doubt coach Flower and Captain and players will be watching with great interest how Australia go in South Africa. Because everyone would now like to know how good this Australian side actually are and wether Ashes 2013/14 was a flash in the pan. Australia peformed very well in their own backyard. However the next Ashes is in 2015. England can well feel confident of winning the Ashes next time. England play much better in England than they do in Australia. Captain and Coach therefore are doing the right thing in staying on and build a new team 2015.

  • Dielo on December 30, 2013, 11:27 GMT

    Warne got into Cook's head with his comments of being unimaginative and too defensive. From then on then he was basically fulfilling Warne's prophecy always looking confused and second guessing himself. Can't believe he's the same guy who captained England to an Ashes triumph just earlier this year.

  • Bob on December 30, 2013, 10:13 GMT

    I think people are over-estimating the difference the captain would make to that team...some sort of Brearley/Fleming/Tubby Taylor hybrid would still be down 4-0. Cook deserves to stay, and at least should have experience under a different coach (if Flower goes) before playing on under Bell or whoever else gets put in that position. I haven't seen much T20 but if Broad is any good tactically, make him test skipper too, would make for amusing viewing watching him give the opposing captain a serve at the coin toss.

  • arjun on December 30, 2013, 7:30 GMT

    I think the real culprit is KP. Ever since he mentioned that Cook will break Tendulkar's records, Cook's form has taken big drop. Pressure of emulating Tendulkar has got him.

  • Richard on December 30, 2013, 5:52 GMT

    Good to hear Alastair, so you'll still be Captain when we turn up in the Old Dart to contest the Ashes? Terribly sporting of you Old Chap, we couldn't wish for more. Best Christmas present ever!

  • ranganathan on December 30, 2013, 3:08 GMT

    Cook as an opener is OK but not as a captain. His very defensive approach and lack of imagination and vibrancy, in the field cost them the series. Further he and the coach did not read the symptoms even in the previous series. Both should go gracefully.With much fanfare they took 4 tall pace bowlers to suit Australian pitches and backed Bresnan who is a misfit for the challenge. Anderson the leader in the past did not live up to his reputation. Only Pietersen and to some extent Cook showed their class but due to the team's poor show could not dominate after some good starts.The team selection was poor. Cook will do well if he leaves the captaincy to somebody and for Flower it is time to go.

  • Glenn on December 30, 2013, 1:36 GMT

    Providing there is someone in the England setup to help Cook analyse his captaincy flaws, he deserves an opportunity to show he has learned from this ill-fated tour before he is cast aside without a standout successor.

  • rick on December 30, 2013, 0:12 GMT

    Not sure that there are any potential replacements, but Cook's captaincy in this test was absolutely woeful.

  • Anselm on December 29, 2013, 23:44 GMT

    Not sure exactly what "group management" has to do with captaincy. In it's simplest form, it is getting the troops together and finding a way to win. I am not convinced that Cook has either the cricket intelligence or the man management intelligence to be a strong leader. I think he has benefited from having a team that used to play well and let's be honest did not need a lot of leading. Batsmen put up a lot of runs in the first innings, the bowlers came in and ran through teams and it did not require Cook to do anything but be around. In fact I think he played well when he didn't have to think about captaining but once the team faltered and he had to focus on captaining his own form fell away.

  • adeel on December 29, 2013, 23:20 GMT

    didn't cook made over 700 runs last time around in aust? oh wait he wasn't captain then strauss was !! eng need a new captain so cook can become the batsman he was not so long ago. the job is clearly affecting him. probably make broad since he is T20 captain. leave ian bell alone. don't ruin his good form with captaincy burden.

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