Australia v England, 4th ODI, Perth January 24, 2014

Cook wants to lead England at World Cup

ESPNcricinfo staff

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.

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."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • ian 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.

  • Pushpakumara 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!

  • Bob 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.

  • Jay 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.

  • James on January 24, 2014, 17:39 GMT

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

  • Dummy4 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.

  • avid 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

  • $$ milind 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.

  • suresh 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.

  • suresh kumar 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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