Cook set for England axe

2014-12-20 00:11
Alastair Cook (AFP)

London - Alastair Cook is set to be dismissed as captain of England's one-day team ahead of the Cricket World Cup after the opener's miserable run of form, according to reports on Friday.

Cook has scored just one fifty in his last 22 one-day innings for England and he has paid the price for failing to stop the rot during his country's recent 5-2 series defeat in Sri Lanka.

England's selectors are reported to have decided to axe Cook as skipper at a meeting on Friday, with the Daily Telegraph saying Eoin Morgan is now set to lead the side for the tri-series in Australia after Christmas and then the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand in February and March.

After England's series-ending defeat in Colombo on Tuesday, Cook, who hasn't scored a one-day century since June 2012, conceded he could have no complaints if he lost the one-day captaincy.

But the decision to remove him from the role with the World Cup looming is still a major reversal by Paul Downton, the managing director of England cricket, and head coach Peter Moores, who have given Cook absolute backing this year.

Cook is expected to be able to continue captaining the Test side and will focus on England's bid to regain the Ashes against Australia next year.

Yorkshire's Gary Ballance is believed to be the leading contender to replace Cook in England's 15-man World Cup squad, which will be announced on Saturday, with Moeen Ali and Alex Hales a potential new opening partnership.

The England and Wales Cricket Board had yet to confirm the decision ahead of that squad announcement, but several former England captains were quick to voice their support for the move.

"I think it'll be a relief to Alastair," Mike Atherton, who led England in the 1990s, told Sky Sports News.

"He can now concentrate on batting in Test matches at the top of the order. I don't think Eoin Morgan is going to be in the Test side so he can concentrate on the one-day side of things.

"I think it's the right decision. It makes them look a bit silly, so in many ways a brave one.

"Let's face it, England can't do much worse than they have been doing in recent times in one-day cricket."

Nasser Hussain, who captained England at the 2003 World Cup, agreed with Atherton, but praised Cook for refusing to quit as captain during his miserable run.

"It's not ideal but I do think it's the right decision, first and foremost for Alastair," he said.

"Alastair should be quite proud of the way he's fought to try and regain his form.

"He's not a quitter, he's not quit English cricket, he tried to fight hard but he's gone 59 innings now in an England shirt without a hundred and this is one of the greatest batsmen we've ever produced.

"His stats are up there with the (Sachin) Tendulkars of this world and we want to see that Alastair Cook back very well for England in a Test shirt."

However, Michael Vaughan, who took charge of England in the 2007 World Cup, does not believe removing Cook significantly increases the team's hopes of victory in next year's tournament.

"Alastair Cook should have gone a while ago as England's one-day captain," he said in his Daily Telegraph column.

"Now the decision has been made it is time to look forward.

"But let's not kid ourselves. There are still problems in the team and removing Cook will not suddenly turn them into World Cup winners."

Kevin Pietersen, the controversial batsman axed by England earlier this year due to his troubled relationship with his team-mates, welcomed Morgan's impending appointment and said he would relish a recall under the new regime.

"Great news that Eoin is new England 1-day captain. Top player, leader and bloke. Hope I get to play for him," Pietersen tweeted.

Read more on:    england  |  alastair cook  |  cricket

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