England vs Sri Lanka: Geoffrey Boycott warns Alastair Cook he could be 'hounded out' of the England team captaincy if his poor form continues

Cook is under a huge amount of pressure to turn around England's fortunes after the winter Ashes drubbing and the narrow 100-run defeat to Sri Lanka with two balls remaining

Geoffrey Boycott has warned England captain Alastair Cook he could be hounded out of his job if his team keeps serving up "the same old rubbish".

The outspoken former opening batsman launched a broadside at Cook in the wake of Monday's 100-run defeat by Sri Lanka at Headingley, which handed the tourists a first ever series win on English soil.

A humiliating winter Ashes defeat in Australia prompted change at the top with a new head coach in Peter Moores, a new managing director in Paul Downton, and new chairman of selectors in James Whitaker having been installed, but Boycott fears Cook's position is rapidly becoming untenable.

Writing in his column in the Daily Telegraph, he said: "Cook is too stubborn an individual to resign because he would see it as a sign of weakness.

"Downton, Whitaker and Moores have hung their hats on him taking England forward, so if they were to sack him so quickly after all they have said about the new era, it would be embarrassing for them.

"So we are stuck with him. But they can be as supportive as they want and he can be as stubborn as he wants but if he fails with the bat in the first Test against India at Nottingham, which starts on July 9, and we lose again, then public opinion and the media will be so vocal he may be hounded out."

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Cook remained defiant in the immediate aftermath of what proved to be a heartbreaking defeat, but his personal lack of form with the bat has been exacerbated by questions over his captaincy.

Having arguably batted for too long in the first Test at Lord's and then found themselves failing in a race against the clock to bowl the Sri Lankans out for a second time, England surrendered a position of strength at Headingley and ultimately, the series.

Boycott said: "We are watching the same old rubbish and we cannot go on playing like this.

"We have to stop spurning chances to win. At Headingley, Cook gave a lesson in how to lose a Test match from a winning position.

"He had no imagination, no plan B and no different tactics as Angelo Mathews batted Sri Lanka into a winning position. It was just mind boggling.

"You have to have a feel for captaincy. You cannot go to bloody school or learn it from a book."

Boycott also accused James Anderson and Stuart Broad of bowling "absolute tripe" with the new ball to allow Sri Lanka to establish what proved to be a decisive lead as skipper Angelo Mathews led a rearguard action in his side's second innings.

That theme was taken up by former England captain Michael Vaughan, who admitted much of the criticism coming Cook's way was deserved, but insisted he has been let down by his senior players.

Writing in the same paper, Vaughan said: "As captain, you have to be hard with your mates if they are not performing.

"We do not know what he [Cook] is like in the dressing room, but it cannot be friendly in there after how they bowled on Monday. It is your job as a captain to get the ball out of their hands and give them a rocket when they have had a series of bad days.

"The senior players are the leaders of this team but in this series, it is the youngsters who have shown maturity.

"As a captain, you look at the likes of Stuart Broad and James Anderson and view them as your bankers. You know what you are going to get from them.

"But they bowled too short, have been wayward, lacked rhythm and appeared jaded."

PA

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