Cook critical of World Cup axe

Published: Wednesday 18th March 2015 by The News Editor

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Alastair Cook claims England’s early exit from the World Cup has proved the decision to sack him as captain was ‘probably wrong’.

Cook knew his position was in “jeopardy” because of his poor one-day international form, before he was replaced by Eoin Morgan at the 11th hour.

But after witnessing from afar England’s embarrassing departure in the group stages of the global tournament in Australia and New Zealand, he senses coach Peter Moores and his management colleagues ended up with a “shell-shocked” team.

Cook’s task now as Test captain is to try to start an Ashes year with success in the West Indies – the squad for that tour was announced on Wednesday morning – and he believes he must first renew confidence after England’s miserable winter.

He acknowledges his continued lack of ODI runs in Sri Lanka last November and December put the England and Wales Cricket Board in a difficult position – but still senses he might have helped do better than elimination before the knockout stages began, as happened under Morgan.

“The selectors made that decision, because they thought it was the best for English cricket,” Cook told the Daily Telegraph.

“Hindsight has probably proved them wrong, but now it’s very easy to say that.”

Either way, Cook regrets that the optimism and belief created by last summer’s Test series success at home to India may no longer be intact.

“It was in a good place,” he said.

“I wouldn’t say all of it [confidence] has been (shattered), but a hell of a lot of it has been.

“We have a repairing job to do … we built that momentum a little bit after the Ashes 14 or 15 months ago with a slightly younger side, including the likes of Gary Ballance and Joe Root.

“There was a good feel-good factor about the English game in the middle of August after the Test matches. Since then, it’s been tough going. We’ve got to rebuild again.”

Cook would have loved the opportunity to complete a challenge he was set when named Andrew Strauss’ successor as ODI captain after the previous World Cup in 2011.

“I was there for three-and-a-half years trying to do a job,” he said.

“We got to number one in the world with a full-strength side and got to the final of the Champions Trophy. There were things I can be very proud of.

“As any captain will tell you, leading your country in a World Cup is a huge honour and one that can never be taken lightly. I was very much looking forward to that.

“I understand the pressure I was under. I wasn’t scoring the runs I should, or could, have been scoring so I understand that my position was in jeopardy.

“But I think you saw in Australia the dangers of making such a big decision so close to the tournament.

“I don’t know what’s gone on on that tour … but it did look like the lads were shell-shocked from the first two games.

“Whether I would have made a difference, I don’t know.

“But I was fully confident we would get out of our group … you always back yourself, and I would have loved to have had the opportunity that was taken away from me.”

Published: Wednesday 18th March 2015 by The News Editor

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