Moores: No guarantees over Cook

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Published: Sunday 14th December 2014 by The News Editor

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Alastair Cook appears to face an anxious wait to be confirmed as England’s World Cup captain, after coach Peter Moores offered “no guarantee”.

Moores insists too that “nothing has changed … at the moment”, on Cook’s status, yet left open the possibility that a review of the series defeat in Sri Lanka could yet be consequential for the captain.

It is a moot point whether the coach’s remarks are merely an adherence to selectors’ protocol, or if there is renewed indecision in some quarter about Cook’s position.

There is no doubt, however, that Moores’ response – after England were defeated by 90 runs at Pallekele on Saturday to lose the series with one match still to play – contrasts significantly with national selector James Whitaker’s endorsement, before the tourists set off for Sri Lanka, of “unique leader” Cook to take the team to the World Cup later this winter.

Since then, Cook’s troubles have extended to 87 runs in five innings here, a one-match ban for overseeing a poor over rate, a solitary one-day international 50 in his last 21 attempts and his fifth successive series defeat as captain.

Cook was adamant, after a match in which he dropped Sri Lanka centurion Kumar Sangakkara on 41 and then made only a single off his own bat in reply, that he wants to stay in charge.

But Moores said: “Alastair has said very clearly that he is very keen to carry on, and wants to remain as captain of England.

“He knows nobody has got the guarantee of that.

“I hear people say someone’s unsackable. That would be a ridiculous comment.

“We’ve got four selectors, and we always pick what we think is the best team – and that will be no different, moving forward.”

Two months ago, Whitaker was reading a very different script.

“We believe we have a unique leader and a unique person, and that should not be under-estimated,” he said of Cook, who remains listed as captain of a provisional 30-man squad for the World Cup.

“We reviewed the [summer] series against Sri Lanka and India. There was discussion about all positions.

“It was very apparent, very soon that all the selectors are 100 per cent behind Cook as leader of this team, not only for the Sri Lanka trip but into Australia and the World Cup.”

Moores, Whitaker, Angus Fraser and Mick Newell must conduct another series review in a short time frame this week before announcing a 16-man squad on Saturday to head to Australia for a tri-series against the hosts and India.

It will be a World Cup squad in all but one name – probably that of an extra bowler – and must be reduced to a final 15 by January 7.

Invited to clarify the situation, Moores said: “It hasn’t changed.

“Alastair is announced as captain of our World Cup team … but I’ve said, every tour we go on, it will be wrong not to go back, look at everything that’s happened with the other selectors.

“That’s the way it should be. It’s fair to the public that way.

“We’ll do exactly the same this time.

“But Alastair is our captain, and nothing has changed on that front at the moment.”

Published: Sunday 14th December 2014 by The News Editor

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