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London: Sep 3, 2014
Former skipper Andrew Strauss feels that sacking Alastair Cook as the England cricket captain ahead of the 2015 World Cup, Feb 14-March 29, would not end the team’s ODI woes and, in fact, could turn out to be a disaster.
England suffered a nine-wicket defeat in the fourth ODI, at Edgbaston, Tuesday as India eased to a 3-0 lead in the five-match series with one match to play. It was Cook’s sixth loss in the last seven ODIs as captain. His only win was in New Zealand in February last year.
Strauss, who preceded Cook as captain, said it was time for the selectors to have faith in Cook for the World Cup that would be held in Australia and New Zealand. “It’s going to take someone to say: ‘Listen, this isn’t a sinking ship – I’m going to rectify things’ and Cook has got a massive role to play yet again. We’ve been on his case all summer but he’s got to lead from the front with the bat. I don’t think the right answer is to just discard him as captain before the World Cup – it’s too close to that event now; you’ve got to stick with him but he’s got to find a way of resurrecting his form and setting the tone,” Strauss was quoted as saying by Sky Sports.
Strauss said he doesn’t see any reason why Cook can’t turn it around in the ODIs, especially after he led England to a come-from-behind 3-1 Test series win against India. “He turned it around in the Test series by taking a bit of pressure off himself and saying: ‘Listen, I’m trying as hard as I can — I’ve just got to go out and see ball, hit ball’. I think that’s what we need to see from him a little bit more in one-day cricket — reacting to the ball coming down at him. He knows where his strong areas are and it’s about committing to them, but at the moment he doesn’t look in great form,” he said.
Strauss believes Cook is very much part of the solution for England’s ODI woes. “If he can get himself back on board then — as happened in the Test series — the other players take confidence. They think: ‘The captain’s not under so much pressure, so we’re under less pressure ourselves and can go out and play in a more positive manner’,” he said.
Strauss said the selectors must not make wholesale changes to the squad. “England have got themselves in a really tight corner at the moment. They are lacking in confidence and there are a lot of question marks about the form of their batsmen – Cook and Ian Bell; Joe Root hasn’t scored many runs and Eoin Morgan is lacking in form as well.
“You either say: ‘Chuck them all out and get a whole lot of new guys in’ or you stick with them but you say to them: ‘We can’t keep playing this way – if we do we’ll get the same results – so we’ve got to go out there with a different mind-set and even if we lose the game, at least show some more intent’. The clock is ticking now until the start of the World Cup – they’ve got 12 ODIs before that World Cup starts and they’ve got to make some vast improvements pretty quickly,” he said.
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