New Delhi - Batsman Joe Root has backed Alastair Cook to
remain as England skipper, hailing him as a "brilliant leader"
despite the team's woes on their current tour of India.
Root, widely tipped to succeed Cook when the veteran skipper
does make way, played down talk that he was ready to take the helm by telling
reporters he was happy with his role in the team.
Cook's future has been called into question after he
admitted just before the tour that he could quit at the end of the five-Test
series and that he was finding it hard to be apart from his family for long
After drawing the first Test, England suffered heavy defeats
in the next two matches and must win their next contest in Mumbai to have any
chance of saving the series.
But regardless of the outcome, Root played down the prospect
of a change in leadership after the team return home in time for Christmas.
"I think he is pretty set on captaining for a few years
to come and I hope he does because I think he is a brilliant leader and I've
really enjoyed playing under him," said Root, 25.
"I'm quite happy with the role I'm playing at the
moment and you want to do what is right for England and the side.
"And genuinely, honestly, I think he is the right man.
Hopefully, we get these results we want in the last two games and we can put
right what has been quite a frustrating last couple of weeks."
After becoming a father for a second time last month, the
31-year-old Cook admitted that he found the long England tours a wrench, while
insisting he remained deeply proud of captaining his country.
The left-handed opener, who recently overtook Michael
Atherton's record of 54 Tests as England captain, no longer plays limited-overs
cricket but has been a permanent fixture in the Test side for the last decade.
Despite his team's stumbles in India, Cook's own form has
held up and he scored his 30th Test century in the opening match.
Root, who is himself averaging nearly 50 in India,
acknowledged that Cook may be missing his family but insisted he was coping
well and that other batsmen had to step up to the plate.
"You could put a lot of blame on Cooky but actually it
is the responsibility of the batters to make those big scores," he said.
The fourth Test begins in Mumbai next Thursday ahead of the
final match in Chennai which begins on December 16.