Alastair Cook (left) has come under fire for his ODI performances and Peter Moores believes some of the criticism was unfair    Getty Images
Alastair Cook (left) has come under fire for his ODI performances and Peter Moores believes some of the criticism was unfair Getty Images

By Julian Guyer

Birmingham: Sep 8, 2014

Alastair Cook faces a wait to discover if he will captain England at the ICC World Cup 2015, according to coach Peter Moores. Cook’s position as both captain and an opening batsman in One-Day Internationals (ODIs) has been the subject of fevered debate and this intensified during England’s recent 3-1 home ODI series defeat by world champions India. Much of the tone of that debate has angered Moores.

Nevertheless, he has stopped short of giving Cook the same blanket endorsement he did when the 29-year-old Essex left-hander faced similar flak during England’s preceding Test series win over India, where they came from 1-0 down to win 3-1. Moores insisted it would be wrong for him to name his preferred one-day captain before he met with the other three England selectors panel chief James Whitaker, Middlesex coach Angus Fraser and Nottinghamshire boss Mick Newell in a couple of weeks’ time.

Cook admitted recently it was “far-fetched” to imagine England winning the World Cup for the first time at next year’s edition in Australia and New Zealand. That prompted England exile Kevin Pietersen, following the lead of fellow former England captain Michael Vaughan, to say Cook was “not the right man to open the batting and captain the one-day team”. But Moores, speaking after England’s thrilling three-run win over India in Sunday’s lone Twenty20 international at Edgbaston a match where Cook wasn’t playing as he no longer features in T20 cricket defended the 29-year-old left-hander’s ODI record.

“If I get a frustration, it’s when people question Alastair’s quality as a player,” said Moores of Cook, who in 86 ODIs has scored 3,085 runs at 37.62 with five hundreds. But the four-match India one-day series saw Cook compile a modest total of 118 runs at 29.50 with a best of 46. “He’s still scored more hundreds than any other England player since the last World Cup he’s scored four to everybody else’s two,” said Moores.

“So he’s a very fine one-day player, but nobody wants to talk about that. I’ve got a huge amount of respect for Alastair as a player and as a captain. The questioning of him as a cricketer, I think, has been unjust.”

England s World Cup goal

However, Moores said Cook appreciated an England captain should only be appointed after thorough consideration. “He knows the England captain should always be robustly debated all the time, to make sure that every time you get picked for a series you’ve got though the process of the selectors (confirming) you are absolutely, categorically, the right man. We are going to sit and look at every position, which is right because we’ve got to pick an England team to win a World Cup. That isn’t for me to do now, that’s for me to do in that meeting in September. This is me being fair to three other selectors,” said Moores.

England, unusually, are playing only one-day cricket between now and the start of the World Cup in February. They have a seven-match ODI campaign in Sri Lanka in November and December before a tri-series in Australia in January that also features India. That will leave Moores with some time to reflect on his first season back in charge of England after former boss Andy Flower stepped down following the humiliating 5-0 Ashes defeat in Australia.

Moores has since presided over an ODI win away to Scotland and, more significantly, home series defeats by Sri Lanka in all formats. Then came England’s mixed fortunes against India.

“I’ve enjoyed myself. You don’t have a great summer if you’ve lost a series; a great summer is if you don’t get beaten,” explained Moores, whose initial two-year spell as England coach ended in 2009 because of a rift with Pietersen that cost the latter the England captaincy. “What I’ve had is a learning summer. I think we are getting better and I think that’s probably the main thing.”