Leeds, United Kingdom – Michael Vaughan said Wednesday that Alastair Cook must be sacked as England's one-day international captain if they are to have any chance of winning next year's World Cup.
England's humiliating nine-wicket ODI defeat by India at Edgbaston on Tuesday – a result that saw the world champions take an unbeatable 3-0 lead in a five-match series and win with nearly 20 overs to spare – was the final straw for Vaughan.
“Cook is a stubborn man,” said Vaughan in an online column for the Daily Telegraph published Wednesday.
“He proved it this summer when he defied people calling for him to go and made his point by winning the Test series against India.
“But one-day cricket is different. If he is not going to stand down then the tough call has to be made.”
England will head to Australia and New Zealand for a World Cup starting in February having yet to win the tournament in any of its 10 previous editions stretching back to 1975.
Vaughan who, in common with Cook, enjoyed Ashes-winning success as England captain, feared history was in the process of repeating itself when it came to the team's one-day leadership.
“Mike Atherton, Nasser Hussain, Andrew Strauss and myself thought we could do the job – but we were Test match cricketers and could not adapt,” Vaughan explained.
“Cook is cut from similar cloth and, at the moment, he is dropping players from the team who are better one-day cricketers than him.
“The captain is going up to players telling them they are not in the team – and they must be looking back wondering 'how are you still in it?'“
Vaughan, who said Middlesex batsman Eoin Morgan should replace Cook as one-day captain, added change was essential if England were to be competitive at the World Cup.
“With six months to go, other teams are looking at this side and hoping that Cook remains as captain, and opens the batting at next year's World Cup – because they know if that happens England will not be a threat,” Vaughan said.
Meanwhile England great Ian Botham, writing in the Daily Mirror, said: “Rarely have I been so angry watching an England cricket team.
“What I saw at Edgbaston was a joke...The one-day game has changed but we have failed to change.”
Cook was adamant Wednesday he would not resign as one-day captain but was prepared to be sacked by England and Wales Cricket Board managing director Paul Downton and national chairman of selectors James Whitaker.
“They're the guys at the top of English cricket and if that's their decision, then I have to take that on the chin,” said Cook. “I hope it's not but if it is, it is.”
One lone highlight for England at Birmingham's Edgbaston ground on Tuesday was the performance of Moeen Ali, who in his first ODI of the season made 67 and also bowled some tidy off-spin in his home town.
Moeen took 19 wickets in England's preceding 3-1 Test series win over India and Cook said: “He's done himself absolutely no harm at all, especially the way he batted, and I thought he bowled okay as well in tough circumstances.”
England will try to avoid a 4-0 whitewash by India in Friday's series finale at Headingley. – Sapa-AFP