Australia v England, 4th ODI, Perth

Cook wants to lead England at World Cup

ESPNcricinfo staff

January 24, 2014

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Alastair Cook cuts in the air, Australia v England, 4th ODI, Perth, January 24, 2014
Alastair Cook said he wanted to continue as England's one-day captain after finally securing a win in Perth © Getty Images

Alastair Cook was finally able to smile in a post-match press conference after England secured a first win over Australia, at the ninth attempt, on a demoralising tour. England's previous victory in international competition came in the Cardiff ODI back in September and Cook was relieved to avert a record-equalling tenth successive defeat in all formats since then.

He was also able to offer a more clear-headed appraisal of his views on the captaincy, after indicating last week that he could give up the one-day job. Speaking in the aftermath of another comprehensive defeat at the SCG, Cook suggested that "English cricket needs a little bit of a change", but he confirmed in Perth his desire to retain the position, with the World Cup just over a year away.

"It's been a long time coming," he said, after finally beating Australia, albeit a side missing four key players, including Cook's counterpart, Michael Clarke. "We know the series has gone but the thought of losing 10-0 - the prospect was there starting today but we played a pretty good game."

Describing last week as "a tough three days", during which James Faulkner wrenched the second ODI away from England in Brisbane before Australia took a 3-0 lead and clinched the series, Cook said he wanted to move on from his comments about the captaincy, when he appeared at his most despondent since succeeding Andrew Strauss in 2011.

"I spoke what I was feeling, sometimes you probably shouldn't do," he said. "I think, what I've learned over three years as one-day captain, it would be wrong so close to the World Cup to change. We're getting some very valuable experience here, in the conditions which we're going to play in the World Cup. So obviously if I'm still given the opportunity, then..."

England's one-day planning in recent years has been methodical and, if Cook's desire remains, a change in tack would seem unlikely, despite the temptation to further test the captaincy acumen of Eoin Morgan. Cook and Ashley Giles, England's limited-overs coach, took the team to the final of the Champions Trophy last year and the current series against Australia, despite being already lost, will inform their thinking for the 2015 World Cup, to be held in Australia and New Zealand.

'Worst we've bowled' - Bailey

  • George Bailey, Australia's stand-in captain, conceded that a poor opening with the ball, when England put on 87 for the first wicket in 12.2 overs after being asked to bat, was one of the main factors in defeat at the WACA. England also managed to shake 93 runs out of the last ten overs, as Australia lost their unbeaten record against the tourists and Bailey, who was deputising for the rested Michael Clarke, said that 'death bowling' was one of the key areas the team were working on.
  • "They got more than I hoped but I thought it was a score we could chase down," he said. "From the start they got, I thought at one stage it was probably going to be more like 350, so we were probably happy that it was only 316, but it was more a 290-wicket. Having said that, we might have been one wicket too many down, but I thought with 16-17 overs to go we were in a good position.
  • "[The decision to bowl] was more the tackiness of the wicket, it certainly felt like for our bowlers it swung around a lot, I don't think we utilised that well at all. I thought that was probably the worst we've bowled, certainly at the start of the game, perhaps it was the swing that made it difficult, the bowlers found it a little hard to control. We always talk about coming to the WACA from elsewhere that you've got to adjust your lengths really quickly and it took us a little while to do that.
  • "One of the areas we highlighted at the start of the series is nailing our death bowling. I generally think our one-day cricket's in really good order; [but] I think it's really hard to be good at the death at the moment, particularly when you're playing against a side who have batters in. I think we've got some bowlers who are going to be really skilled at it, in James Faulkner and Nathan Coulter-Nile. But it's just a matter of mapping out their plans really clearly to each batter and also working out how they best bowl at the death."

The coming 12 months will also see a much heavier focus on ODI cricket, with a triangular series in Australia this time next year providing England with a final rehearsal ahead of the World Cup. Cook has taken plenty of criticism for his captaincy but he said that speaking to team-mates over the last few days had helped to restore his confidence and vowed put the lessons of the last two weeks to good use.

"You do learn all the time, three years is quite a long time, in terms of how much you learn," Cook said. "I think the tough thing is when you come to new conditions with the five men in the circle, you have to learn very quickly. Certain fields which you can do here you can't really do, say, in the subcontinent. That's the stuff we have to learn and learn very quickly.

"We need to make sure we remember some of this stuff so we hit the World Cup running; I know we've got five warm-up games against Australia before that but it's important that we end the tour well and then when we come back here for one-day cricket, we're back at that level.

"The guys can take a lot of confidence. We batted very positively, we always took the positive option, which in these conditions I think you have to do. There's always a bit of risk with that but you have to be good enough as a top-order batsman to make those shots. If we're being quite harsh we could have done with a guy getting a big hundred and we could have got 340 and put the game to bed. But I think we're still pretty close to really putting a big score on."

With 300-plus totals increasingly the norm, the fluent opening stand between Cook and Ian Bell at the WACA provided a tonic for England. Cook remains without an ODI fifty since the Champions Trophy in June but his 43-ball 44 hinted at the possibility of greater returns to come.

"My game is improving in terms of the way I'm striking the ball, the last three weeks I really felt as though I've turned a bit of a corner in that way," he said. "Thirties and forties aren't what you bat for but, when you go through tough times with the bat, you know there are big scores round the corner and when you get them you'll be even more hungry."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Nutcutlet on (January 25, 2014, 9:49 GMT)

There is no doubt in the minds of sane judges of skills & temperament in our game that Alistair Cook is an outstanding batsman who, one day, may rightly regarded as a great of the modern era. For his massive batting potential to be realised, he must not be asked or expected to captain. We have seen over ten Test matches that his effectiveness at the top of the order is adversely affected by captaincy. It's the classic double whammy: make him captain & lose his batting form - which, in turn impacts on his confidence & crispness as captain. He has been utterly exposed in this Test series and suddenly 3-0 down in the ODI series and the Aussies putting out an A side for game 4, a few runs on a batsman's paradise strip, a compensatory win & the old illusion is back. That's what's called getting ahead of yourself, on slim evidence. I know what a fine captain looks like on the field. Cook doesn't look the part & there's been no real progress on that front. Captains are born, not made.

Posted by hotcric01 on (January 25, 2014, 5:47 GMT)

yes.I agree with cook.There is no better option than cook to lead England. He doesn't want to retire because only one bad tour.He has done pretty well before this tour.He has changed his mindset and approach to the game.We showed he has improved his strike rate in last two games.England is not a bad ODI team.But they need 2-3 impact bowlers who can win matches with the ball.Currently England bowlers are decent but there isn't a match winner.Best of luck cook!

Posted by SirBobJones on (January 25, 2014, 1:29 GMT)

Appointing anyone else now is a mistake. Whoever it is may have their form affected by the burden of captaincy plus further upheaval and possible unrest in the team. Short of a drastic move like recalling Collingwood or something equally bizarre, they should stick with Cook as skipper.

Posted by Cpt.Meanster on (January 24, 2014, 19:35 GMT)

I respect Cook as a player and person but as a captain, not so much. If he wishes to lead England at the World Cup, the English national anthem should be "May God Save the Team". England will be the first team to exit and head home if this man's in charge. They need radical changes in the line up; some kind of visionary to take charge and play an aggressive brand of cricket in Australian/NZ conditions. Disappointed to hear this news.

Posted by xtrafalgarx on (January 24, 2014, 17:39 GMT)

Cook leading England in the world cup? That's one less team to worry about.

Posted by   on (January 24, 2014, 17:16 GMT)

This comment is coming from an Indian fan.From what I've seen of Alastair Cook over the years,he seems to be a potential great for England with the kind of record that he has and the kind of appetite he has shown and my respect for him went up after the way he performed and led from the front in India.I still think he is a very good batsman in Test as well as limited-overs cricket,but he probably needs to consider stepping down from captaincy atleast in the Test format.THis way,he can relieve himself of the burden of having to lead the side and can focus only on his batting.Who knows,he may well go on to finish with a career average of over fifty in the test format and a 40-plus average in the ODI format.I seriously think he is too good a player to stay out of form for too long.A good knock is definitely round the corner and remember,form is temporary,class is permanent.

Posted by dabbadubba on (January 24, 2014, 16:15 GMT)

wow ! 1 win and he has changed his mind from stepping down to remain as captain for a longer time... no wonder eng keep loosing, with such a flip-flopper as a captain.. time for somebody strong like KP to get the captaincy

Posted by class9ryan on (January 24, 2014, 15:45 GMT)

Alastair Cook is still good enough. Make no mistake a long career always has atleast two peaks, look at Sachin Tendulkar or Rahul Dravid, Sachin was probably at his best in 1997-98 and 2010-11 , Rahul was amazing in 1999, 2003-04, and also in the series vs England in 2011. Cook I believe can comeback both as a Test and ODI player. I still reckon this man is gonna the best batsman in English cricket ever.

Posted by DRS_Flawed_NeedsImprovement on (January 24, 2014, 14:45 GMT)

after winning 1 match he suddenly changed his mind, had cook played for any other odi international team, he would have lost his place playing 11. Poor odi player, especially at top order. Eng were beaten badly by india by 5-0, 4-0, 3-2 are still fresh in my memories.

Posted by ODI_BestFormOfCricket on (January 24, 2014, 14:32 GMT)

so, eng definitely not going to win world cup with 90's kind of test player cook at the top.

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