Axing Cook before 2015 World Cup not right: Andrew Strauss

Birmingham: Former England skipper Andrew Strauss today said that sacking Alastair Cook as captain before the 2015 World Cup is not an answer to English cricket team’s one-day woes.

The Cook-led England team has lost six out of last seven one-day series. England’s only win was in New Zealand in February last year.

“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,” Strauss was quoted as saying by ‘Sky Sports’.

Strauss feels Cook, who is averaging just 24 against India after three innings in the five-match ODI series, can turn things around in the one-dayers, just as he did during the Test series, where he led England to a come-from-behind 3-1 victory over the sub-continent giants.

“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.

“We’ve been on his case all summer but he’s got to lead  from the front with the bat,” said the former captain.

“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’,” he added.

Strauss said Cook must work on his strong areas to come out of this lean phase.

“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 pointed out.

The 37-year-old felt it was important for Cook to get back to form, so that other players could also gain confidence.

“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’,” explained Strauss.

Even though only one batsman — Moeen Ali — is averaging over 30 in the current series, Strauss said wholesale changes must be resisted before the World Cup, to be held in Australia and New Zealand from February 14 to March 29 next year.

“England have got themselves in a really tight corner at the moment. 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,” Strauss concluded. P

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