Alastair Cook believes this nightmare Ashes tour that saw England lose the precious urn in just 14 days of playing time provides him with the perfect opportunity to stamp his authority on the team.
Cook, speaking on the eve of the Boxing Day Test at the MCG, was brutally honest in his assessment of England’s shortcomings and admitted England’s victories over the first year of his captaincy against India, New Zealand and Australia may have flattered a declining team.
‘Yes, I do believe this is a chance to really stamp my authority,’ said Cook, who in his first 12 months as full-time leader had carried on what had previously been the successful methods of Andrew Strauss.
‘I think it will take time, as always. I’ve always tried to do the best job I can and maybe by losing 3-0 I’ve had to have a good look at myself and see where I need to improve as captain. ‘Maybe the wins papered over the cracks in my captaincy, too. After these two games we have a bit of time off Test cricket and it’s a real good chance to be very clear about exactly the direction I want the side, or we want the side, to go.
‘When you lose, what needs to be done to improve hits you with stark reality and there is no hiding place now. I hadn’t had too much captaincy experience before this job and you tend to look at yourself more when you start losing. There’s always a huge amount to learn.’
Yet what might be a revolution will probably start with evolution now. The shock retirement of Graeme Swann has shorn England of a second senior player after the departure of Jonathan Trott and Cook is mindful of the desperate need to stop Australia winning here and in Sydney to take this series 5-0.
Cook said: ‘It’s all very well saying “let’s plan for the future” but you have to make sure that any player you pick is ready to play at this level. ‘It’s very important not to lose 5-0. We’re desperate not to let that happen this time. ‘There is a bit of a balancing act but I’m not sure these two games will be the start of what we will try to do moving forward.’ – Daily Mail