London - England skipper Alastair Cook has got only worse after the team's Ashes drubbing last year and should quit Test captaincy or take a break from the game, according to Australian spin great Shane Warne.
The outspoken Australian has never been a fan of Cook's captaincy and his constant criticism seemed to have flustered the 29-year-old left-hander, who considers it a personal attack on him and believes “something needs to be done” about it.
“This column is not a personal attack and never has been Alastair. Mate, you need to improve tactically or England need someone else in the job. And I am not the only one saying it,” Warne wrote in a column for the Telegraph newspaper.
“Agree or disagree but it is our opinion and in the case of Cook, lots of people including me think it is time for him to step down as captain,” said the 44-year-old, who quit test cricket in 2007 with 708 wickets and a reputation of having revived the art of leg-spin.
Cook's own run drought and his team's failure to register a win in eight successive tests have supplied Warne more ammunition against the English skipper, currently smarting from a 1-0 home series loss against Sri Lanka.
“The most disappointing thing for me is that he has not learned or improved after a horrible 5-0 drumming in Australia, in fact he has got worse,” Warne said.
Elaborating, Warne went on to say he had not seen worst leadership than what Cook displayed in the Headingley test where Angelow Mathews' sparkling 160 led to Sri Lanka's thrilling series-clinching victory with just one ball to spare.
“His captaincy (in the drawn first Sri Lanka test) at Lord's was terrible, then on Monday at Headingley, I witnessed the worst day of captaincy I have ever seen at international level in almost 25 years in the game,” Warne said.
“It was horrific, and I am not the only one singing that tune,” he added.
“He just does not get it. Everyone watching could see the game needed a change of pace; bowl the spinner or make the seamers try and actually get Angelo Mathews out. You just cannot bowl the same stuff over after over like he did - good captains try things and are proactive, not hopeful.”
Under Cook, Warne said, England would always be “conservative” and “confused” in tight games “because he retreats so quickly”.
Taking a break was maybe a good idea for England's leading test century-maker, Warne said.
“Nobody likes doing it. You get accused of being soft but I know the benefit my enforced lay-off gave me. I had a year out of the game and it was the best thing that could have happened to me. I could rest mind and body and returned to have my best years.”