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INDIA V ENGLAND TESTS

Root tips Cook to set sail for Australia

02 December 2016

Joe Root believes his captain is still coping with the demands of the role at international level // Getty

Vice-captain believes record-breaking skipper will carry on for another Ashes campaign, and quite possible beyond

Joe Root has backed Alastair Cook to stay on as England's Test captain until at least next year's Ashes tour of Australia.

Cook's future was debated before this five-match series in India began, and has come under renewed speculation since England fell 2-0 behind with two matches to play following this week's eight-wicket defeat in the Third Test at Mohali.


Before the series in India started, Cook was forced to deny he was planning to quit the captaincy after being quoted in a magazine interview saying: "Deep down I don't know how much longer I am going to carry on. It could be two months, it could be a year."

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Now Root, his country's vice-captain, says England's record run-scorer is committed to the job for the long haul.

"I think he is pretty set on captaining for a few years to come and I hope he does because I think he is a brilliant leader and I've really enjoyed playing under him," said Root.

"I think he is coping all right. He's very professional and you don't really get much from him in that respect.

"You could put a lot of blame on 'Cooky' but actually it is the responsibility of the batters to make those big scores. You can blame whoever you want, but we have to take responsibility for your own game."

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Cook has been captain since England's 2012 tour of India, and asked if he harboured hopes of taking on the job before next year's Ashes series in Australia, Root said: "I'm quite happy with the role I'm playing at the moment and you want to do what is right for England and the side.

"Genuinely, honestly I think he is the right man. Hopefully, we get these results we want in the last two games and we can put right what has been quite a frustrating last couple of weeks."

Andrew Strauss, England's director of cricket, will sit down with Cook in the New Year to discuss his future. Even if he was to step down, Cook, at the age of 31, would drop back into the ranks and continue playing.

With an Ashes series less than a year away, England will want clarity over Cook's role sooner rather than later.

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But speaking before England's second Test against India in Visakhapatnam the week before last, Strauss admitted he could not guarantee Cook would be the man for the job come the Ashes.

"One thing we've consistently done is find time at the end of series to have a conversation about what direction the team is going in, what challenges there are and for him how much the captaincy is taking out of him," said Strauss.

"It is guaranteed we'll have a similar conversation at the end of this series.

"It is always dangerous to look too far ahead in this game and my gut feeling at the moment is that there is benefit in him carrying on past this series definitely.

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"But a lot of it comes down to where he is at and what his motivation is and how the team is developing.

"We're sitting here right now and it looks to be in a good place but who knows where we will be in three Test matches time or in seven Test matches time?"

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Meg Lanning Steve Smith

About the Writer

 @StocksC_cricket
@StocksC_cricket

Chris Stocks is a freelance cricket writer based in London. He is a regular contributor to the Guardian, Daily Mail, Independent and London Evening Standard.

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