Australia’s remorseless domination in all forms of cricket this Ashes summer appears to have pushed England skipper Alastair Cook to the brink of considering whether he wants to continue as captain.
England slumped to their eighth consecutive loss to Australia tonight with a thumping seven-wicket loss with 10 overs to spare in the decisive third match of the Carlton Mid ODI Series at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
That result hands Australia the five-match series, and immediately after the match he was questioned as to whether the toll of defeat would force him to consider his roles as captain, specifically of the one-day outfit.
But while Cook was adamant in the wake of the five-nil Ashes drubbing that he wanted to remain as leader of the Test team, his tune was decidedly different after three losses in the space of a week in the white ball game.
“It’s been two weeks since someone asked me that question and a lot has happened in two weeks,” a clearly dejected Cook said. “We’ve kept losing games of cricket and I haven’t been able to turn it around.
“I want to be part of a successful one-day team, I feel that I’m a good enough player to do that and my record suggests that I can do that.”
Pressed on whether that meant he wanted to continue as one-day captain, mindful that the next ICC World Cup is just over a year away in Australia and New Zealand, Cook gave the indication that he will consider his future as leader when he returns following the current disastrous tour.
“I’ve got to make decisions at certain times, I can’t answer that question (whether want to continue as captain of one-day team) now because we’re in the middle of the series,” he said. “And I don’t know what I’m going to feel like when I get home.”
He also pointed out that England’s one-day results have slipped on what was expected because of their need to play largely inexperienced bowling attacks due to the attrition rate caused by back-to-back Ashes Test series that has seen spinner Graeme Swann retire and pace spearhead James Anderson rested from the Carlton Mid Series.
Cook’s rival skipper Michael Clarke, who endured most of 2013 without a Test win and experienced on and off-field upheaval along the way, said he knew the sorts of pressures that Cook was currently facing and the impact they can have.
But he wasn’t about to declare any public sympathy for his opponent.
“Defeat takes a toll,” Clarke said. “It doesn’t matter what form of the game you captain, any time you lose ... the way I see captaincy, when you’re not performing well as a team then the captain is in the spotlight and that’s a big part of captaincy - you’re accountable.
“But I don’t think feeling sorry for an opposition captain is the right thing to feel.
“To a certain extent I know what Alastair is going through because we’ve been through some tough times as a team and it’s tough as a captain.
“But at the end of the day, I’m here to help Australia have success and we’ve experienced a lot of defeats in the past couple of years.
“I think it would be very silly to try and put myself in Alastair’s shoes because I’m not there.”