Cook bats Warne's criticism

2013-11-05 11:03
Alastair Cook (AFP)
Hobart - England's Alastair Cook on Tuesday played down Shane Warne's criticism of his captaincy but acknowledged that he  and other top-order batsmen must improve on their summer performance in the upcoming Ashes series.

Cook said Warne's latest comments had raised his "blood pressure", but ultimately he was comfortable with a record of just one loss from 16 matches since being appointed skipper.

He was also unconcerned at being described by Warne as unimaginative and negative as team tactician as he prepared to overcome back trouble and lead England in a four-day tour game against Australia 'A' starting in Hobart on Wednesday.

"I keep saying it, it's all about results," he told reporters.

Warne on Monday spiced up the leadup to the Ashes series starting in Brisbane on November 21, when he criticised Cook's captaincy as "negative, boring, not very imaginative".

"But I think he needs to be more imaginative. If Australia play well and he continues to captain the way he does, I think England are going to lose the series," Warne said.

Cook did admit that question marks over the England top order were legitimate heading into the first Gabba Test.

England were three wickets down for less than 65 on six occasions during the Ashes series in England in July-August, with pacemen Ryan Harris and Peter Siddle both striking early.

The Kookaburra red balls used in Australia are known to swing for the first 15 overs and then settle down to allow batsmen to cash in.

England failed to post a total over 400 in the last series, putting the top three batsmen under pressure this time around.

"Especially with the Kookaburra ball it's a situation we can't allow to happen again," Cook said.

"Sometimes in England with overhead conditions, that (early wickets) does happen.

"In Australia the bigger scores do happen and we know that is an area of major improvement we needed to do coming into the series."

England can take comfort from the fact that Cook and number three batsman Jonathan Trott were the two highest run-scorers during their 3-1 triumph on the last tour Down Under in 2010-11.

Cook scored a double century in Brisbane and two big tons in Adelaide and Sydney.

"Any batter knows if you walk around a ground where you have scored runs in the past it gives you a better feeling," he said.

"The difference is that I'm now responsible for the team."

Cook's opening partner Joe Root is under pressure to avoid a demotion to number six in the batting order.

Root was also singled out for criticism by Warne, with the Australian leg-spin great claiming that the rookie Yorkshireman would be "crucified" if he stayed as an opener.

"I don't think Root's an opener because of his technique. Australia found him out in England and in Australian conditions they'll find him out more," Warne said.

England have the option to open with Michael Carberry and move Root back to the middle order. He struggled in all but one innings - in which he made 180 - in the last Ashes.

Read more on:    ashes  |  alastair cook  |  shane warne  |  cricket

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