Cricket Expert & Columnist
'Alastair Cook should captain England in World Cup but must start setting the tone'
Too close to tournament to bring in new skipper, says Strauss
Last Updated: 03/09/14 9:14am
Axing Alastair Cook as captain before the World Cup is not the answer to England’s one-day woes, says Andrew Strauss.
England crumbled to a nine-wicket defeat in the fourth ODI, at Edgbaston, as rampant India eased to a 3-0 lead in the five-match series with one match to play.
Cook has now lost six of his last seven one-day series as captain - his only win coming in New Zealand in February last year – and is averaging 24 against the tourists after three innings.
But Strauss, who opened with Cook in over 100 Test innings and preceded the left-hander as captain, says the selectors must keep faith with the 29-year-old ahead of the World Cup, which starts in Australia and New Zealand on February 14.
“It’s going to take someone to say: ‘Listen, this isn’t a sinking ship – I’m going to rectify things’ and Cook has got a massive role to play yet again,” said Strauss.
“We’ve been on his case all summer but he’s got to lead from the front with the bat.
"I don’t think the right answer is to just discard him as captain before the World Cup – it’s too close to that event now; you’ve got to stick with him but he’s got to find a way of resurrecting his form and setting the tone.
“He turned it around in the Test series by taking a bit of pressure off himself and saying: ‘Listen, I‘m trying as hard as I can – I’ve just got to go out and see ball, hit ball’.
“I think that’s what we need to see from him a little bit more in one-day cricket – reacting to the ball coming down at him
“He knows where his strong areas are and it’s about committing to them, but at the moment he doesn’t look in great form.
“He is very much part of the solution. If he can get himself back on board then – as happened in the Test series – the other players take confidence.
“They think: ‘The captain’s not under so much pressure, so we’re under less pressure ourselves and can go out and play in a more positive manner’.”
Speaking in the aftermath of England’s Edgbaston humiliation, Sir Ian Botham said it is time for the selectors to bring some younger players into the ODI squad and put forward the names of James Taylor and James Vince.
But although only one batsman is averaging over 30 in the current series – Moeen Ali, after his 67 in his only knock of the campaign – Strauss says wholesale changes must be resisted.
“England have got themselves in a really tight corner at the moment," he added.
"They are lacking in confidence and there are a lot of question marks about the form of their batsmen – Cook and Ian Bell; Joe Root hasn’t scored many runs and Eoin Morgan is lacking in form as well.
“You either say: ‘Chuck them all out and get a whole lot of new guys in’ or you stick with them but you say to them: ‘We can’t keep playing this way – if we do we’ll get the same results - so we’ve got to go out there with a different mind-set and even if we lose the game, at least show some more intent’.
“The clock is ticking now until the start of the World Cup – they’ve got 12 ODIs before that World Cup starts and they’ve got to make some vast improvements pretty quickly.”
Watch England take on India in the fifth and final ODI of the series on Sky Sports 2 from 10am on Friday.