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Alastair Cook feels blessed to have the backing of England management and teammates

Alastair Cook believes England are ready for a renaissance © Getty Images
Alastair Cook believes England are ready for a renaissance © Getty Images

Aberdeen: May 8, 2014

Alastair Cook said on Thursday that the backing of his colleagues and team management had persuaded him to continue as England captain after he questioned his own position following a wretched Ashes series.

Cook found himself under the spotlight after England’s recent 5-0 thrashing in Australia, a campaign where the opening batsman managed just 277 runs at an average of under 28 per innings.

Team director Andy Flower resigned and one-day coach Ashley Giles was axed following England’s embarrassing defeat by the Netherlands at the subsequent World Twenty20 in Bangladesh.

“Disconnected” star batsman Kevin Pietersen was sent into international exile but the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) hierarchy remained strong in their support of Cook.

“I was asked about (my future) after Sydney and after a long, gruelling winter, I gave it consideration,” Cook, speaking in Aberdeen, where England play Scotland in a one-day international on Friday, told reporters.

“I think it would be wrong if I didn’t,” he added.

“We’d lost a lot of games and we hadn’t played to the standard that side was capable of, and the stuff we were doing was not making a difference. If you don’t question your position as leader then, you never will.”

But with backing from the likes of Stuart Broad and Ravi Bopara, a longstanding colleague of Cook at Essex as well as with England, the left-hander decided to carry on as skipper.

“It was nice that the guys I spoke to, other members of the side, were very supportive and that’s good to hear,” Cook said.

“I spoke to Stuart Broad and Ravi Bopara and they said ‘no, you must carry on’.

“The ECB, since Paul Downton‘s come in, they have backed me and we’ve got to justify that confidence.

“It’s a great honour to captain England, when we walk out at the venues and they announce the England (team) led by me it’s a great feeling. But you’ve got to be winning games of cricket.”

England launch their new era against a Scotland side who will be among their pool opponents at next year’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

In many ways it is a classic ‘no-win’ situation for England, who will be desperate to avoid fresh humiliation at the hands of an associate or non-Test nation following their Dutch debacle.

“It is a banana skin fixture,” Cook said. “They (Scotland) are in a great position with nothing to lose and they’ve got some talent.”

Friday’s match will be the first of Peter Moores‘s second spell in charge after his first stint ended in 2009 after a falling out with Pietersen that saw the South Africa-born shotmaker stripped of the England captaincy.

“Mooresy and I were together in 2007 and the (England) Academy before then so we know each other but it is new territory and it will take time to settle down,” Cook said.

“We want to get back to winning ways.”

For Scotland captain Kyle Coetzer, an opponent of Cook’s in county cricket, where he now plays for Northamptonshire, there was huge pride at the prospect of leading the team out in his home town.

“I was born and raised in Aberdeen. I’m immensely looking forward to it, especially in Aberdeen,” he said.

“Two new balls in any ODI in the UK can be a challenge.

England didn’t have the winter they’d like to have and hopefully we can bring back some bad memories.”

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