Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Captain Alastair Cook admits England require a huge rebuild after awful winter

Alastair Cook, England

The 29-year-old is not part of the T20 squad so missed Tuesday's humiliation by Holland, but he was in charge for the mauling by Australia over the winter.

And Cook admits he and whoever is appointed new coach face a long slog to restore England to anywhere near the top of the world game.

"We don't know our best XI any more, there are a lot of places up for grabs and that makes it a very exciting time for English cricket," said Cook, who has the backing of the ECB to carry on as captain.

"You can't hide behind the five years of success we enjoyed before. We've had an incredibly tough winter and we didn't produce anywhere near the standards required.

"We've lost the core of the side - the coach and some very good senior players - and it's not going to be a quick fix. It's not going to turn again for us overnight.

"Andrew Strauss and Andy Flower started off from a similar spot to where we are now, after we were bowled out for 51 in Jamaica. This is a new era because it has to be that way," he said.

"We can't guarantee lots of great results straight away - that's not how international sport works - because we need to get those standards and skills back to where we were.

"It took two-and-a-half years of building momentum to the point where we reached No1 in the world, and it will take time to get back to that level.

Alastair Cook, Ashley Giles, England cricket

"The Test side that won three Ashes series in a row has broken up quicker than we'd all imagined, but that provides an opportunity for guys to put themselves up for selection.

"But we can still win the Ashes in 2015, of course we can. You only have to look at Australia, who were 2-0 down after two Tests here in England last summer, and they bounced back very quickly."

Apart from getting the team back on track Cook has got to get some runs to make sure he is certain of a place as opener, and not just as skipper.

He averaged just 24 in the winter's Ashes series and needs some big scores for his own peace of mind, despite having the backing of the ECB to carry on as captain.

"Sometimes the harder you try, the worse it gets, and it's how you bounce back that really defines you," he said.

"I'm looking forward to getting out in the middle, but it's a very exciting time for my family (he is due to become a dad any day soon) and that's got to come first.

"If all is well, I'll be taking guard against Cambridge University next week."

Apart from his own form Cook will be keeping a close eye on Jonathan Trott, who made his playing return for Warwickshire yesterday four months after quitting the Ashes tour with fatigue.

In a two-day friendly against Gloucestershire at Edgbaston, Trott scored just four before being caught LBW.

WEST INDIES booked a place against Sri Lanka in tomorrow's World T20 semi-final when they beat Pakistan by 84 runs yesterday.

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