Cook's dilemma understood

2014-08-18 19:40
Alastair Cook (AFP)

London - England coach Peter Moores has said on Monday he understood why Alastair Cook thought of standing down as captain before leading the team to Test series glory against India.

England's 3-1 win in a five-match series was completed in dominant style with a crushing innings and 244-run win over India inside three days at The Oval on Sunday.

But prior to that campaign, England had lost 1-0 at home to Sri Lanka in a two-match campaign after a second Test defeat at Headingley in June that followed a 5-0 Ashes thrashing in Australia.

"All captains learn as you go on," said Moores.

"But what Alastair has done really well, he's got the No.1 quality that anyone needs to get better quickly which is humility.

"When he's been successful, he still wants to get better and learn."

Despite constant backing from Moores, in his second spell as England coach, and the new management team at the top of the England and Wales Cricket Board hierarchy -- who had nailed their colours to Cook's mast by citing the need to support his captaincy as a reason for sending star batsman Kevin Pietersen into international exile -- the Essex opener did ponder his position as skipper after the Headingley loss.

Having resolved to carry on, he then faced calls from several former England captains to resign after the tea fell 1-0 behind to India after the first two Tests of their series.

Moores, whose first spell as England coach ended following criticism from then captain Pietersen, said Cook's reaction to the Headingley defeat was entirely understandable.

"For anyone not to go away and soul-search a bit, if you're captain or coach or player, would have been strange," he said.

"He did that. He spoke to his wife, they had conversations, he came back and significantly, at the end of that Test, he turned round to Athers (former England captain turned Sky commentator Michael Atherton) and said: 'I'm in this for the long haul. If people don't think I should be captain then I accept that but I want to be England captain.'

"It was quite significant for him to say that publicly," Moores added.

England and India are set to play a one-day series starting a week Monday as part of both teams' preparations for next year's World Cup in Australia and New Zealand where India will be the defending champions.

No England side has ever won the World Cup, with the last of their three losing appearances in the final in Australia back in 1992.

The performances of England one-day openers Cook and Ian Bell, both predominantly orthodox batsmen but not renowned big-hitters, have been contrasted unfavourably with the likes of West Indies star Chris Gayle and the Australia duo of David Warner and Aaron Finch, who generally score at a much faster rate than their English counterparts.

But Moores, speaking ahead of the announcement of England's one-day squad to play India, insisted that, with a white ball in use at both ends, Cook's approach could succeed in the 50-over format.

"Alastair's record probably stands up with a lot of openers," Moores said.

"If you look at the strike-rate of openers, we tend to remember only the times when people blast a century on a very flat pitch.

"With two new white balls, you have got to get through, but you have got to score at the right rate. So you've got to get a balance."

Read more on:    alastair cook  |  cricket

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