Alastair Cook, England’s defeated captain, will carefully examine his future role. In the wake of England’s surrender of the Ashes after losing the first three matches of the series against Australia by huge margins he recognised that some people would be scenting blood.
“I’ll never feel let down by my lads, I look into their eyes, and I see what they do in training,” he said. “Whether I could have done more, of course, that’s the first place you look when you lose. As a captain, the buck stops with you.
“Am I managing the players right, am I doing the right things out in the middle? We have to have some honest chats, like we always do. It’s so early to say stuff like that when the game’s just finished and everyone’s being emotive and it’s hurting like it’s hurting. These have to be cool, calculated decisions at the right time.”
There was no doubt listening to Cook in the immediate aftermath of the 150-run defeat in the third Test that he will not continue as captain and opening batsman without deep thought. He has seen his own form suffer badly in both home and away Ashes series and recognises that something might have to give – if not the captaincy, then perhaps a move to No 3 in the order.
He said: “It’s a tough place, my batting at the moment. I’m putting the work in, but not getting the results. You can see the feet aren’t always going in the right place.
“I don’t think the batting is affected by the captaincy. There’s always a strain on it. But the challenge of being a captain is to deal with it. I can honestly say that when I go out as a batter, I’m thinking like a batter.”
Cook gave unequivocal backing to Andy Flower to carry on as coach and to return the team to something like their former glory. The results in the final two matches in Melbourne, on Boxing Day, And Sydney, early in January, may not be wholly academic in that regard.
Cook said: “He’s an outstanding coach. Let’s make no mistake about. It’s not down to him that we’ve lost, it’s that we haven’t had enough players in form. We haven’t been good enough. That’s why we lost. It’s a hard thing to admit it, but we haven’t been good enough.”