Cricket Expert & Columnist
Ashes 2013/14: Alastair Cook must concentrate on his own game as well as England captaincy
Skipper must not do anything crazy or hasty as it's not all doom and gloom...
Last Updated: 09/12/13 8:41am
Cook scored just four runs in total as his side lost the second Test in Adelaide by 218 runs to go 2-0 down in the five-match series, which continues on Friday in Perth.
The left-hander amassed a colossal 766 runs as England romped to a 3-1 win on the 2010/11 tour under Strauss, who also held the urn aloft on home soil in 2009.
But Cook averaged just 27 as England retained the Ashes under his leadership this summer and Strauss says the opener needs to take a close look at his own game.
"Captaincy is tough at the best of times but when you are struggling with your game it is even harder," said Strauss. "As a captain you don't have a lot of time to spend on your own game.
"At the moment Cook be thinking about all sorts of other things - selection issues, what he's going to say to the players, trying to find some moments of inspiration.
"He needs to make sure that he concentrates on his own game. He hasn't looked horribly out of form - he just didn't get in, in this game. He got a good ball in the first innings. I suppose the second innings was uncharacteristic of Alastair Cook in as much as he made a misjudgement and you don't see that often from him.
"Maybe that was a sign that maybe his mind is just a little bit scrambled at the moment."
Following defeat in Adelaide, Cook told Sky Sports that he believes England are capable of raising their game in Perth but added: "We have to look hard into ourselves, deep into the inner soul and drag the performance out of ourselves."
Strauss said the 28-year-old could do worse than look at the composed manner in which Joe Root batted following his promotion to number three, after the Yorkshireman scored an impressive 87 in the second innings.
"Cook needs to keep calm off the field - don't do anything crazy or hasty," said Strauss. "Cook is very much part of the solution to this with the bat and he can lead by example.
"One of the things that we saw in this game is that Joe Root played in a very calm manner. There wasn't any highlights cricket from him; there weren't loads of hook shots from him or massive shots on the up.
"That is Alastair Cook's natural game and it will be effective in Perth, so if he can win the toss, England bat first and he gets a big score, then that gives England an opportunity.
"But he's also got to get the other players fired up. Too many of them have underperformed so far. They'll say 'maybe we've been unlucky'. But the truth is, you can't blame luck. You've got to find a way of overcoming that.
"England have also got to find a way of overcoming the momentum, which is all against them at the moment - and that's not an easy thing to do in an Ashes series.
"It's all over to Perth now. They are going to have to find a way to play a lot better and deal with the short ball better. They need to have a bit more resolve and fight in Perth if they want to get anything out of that game."
England have a dire recent record in Perth, where they have lost their last six Tests, but Strauss says there are chinks in Australia's armour that the tourists can exploit.
"England have got to believe that they can come back," he said. "It's not all doom and gloom because the England bowlers will get more out of the Perth wicket.
"I also think that the inclusion of Ben Stokes gives them a little bit more flexibility with their third seamer. I think they might want to get either Steve Finn or Boyd Rankin in the side for that Test.
"If you look at the Australian batsmen, quite a lot of them haven't performed - Shane Watson, Chris Rogers and Steve Smith haven't done much and George Bailey is still unproven, so England have to start focusing on those sorts of opportunities rather than the threats, which seem to be everywhere at the moment."
Watch highlights of today's play on Sky Sports 2. The Ashes Verdict returns to deliver its judgement at 9pm on the same channel. Our coverage of the third Test begins at 2am on Friday morning.
David Gower, Nasser Hussain and Andrew Strauss assess England's turmoil and Perth options on the Sky Sports Ashes Podcast. Download it here or listen via Soundcloud...