England cricket captain Alastair Cook.
England cricket captain Alastair Cook. Altaf Qadri

Players and staff backing England's Cook to stay on

CRICKET: England assistant coach Paul Farbrace says players and management staff are all backing under-fire captain Alastair Cook and want him to lead the side in next year's Ashes in Australia.

Questions have been asked about Cook's future following England's dismal 4-0 Test series defeat in India.

Cook is pondering whether he will stay on ahead of a meeting with England and Wales Cricket Board director and former opening batting partner Andrew Strauss in the new year.

Farbrace said questions about leadership were inevitable following performances on the sub-continent but insisted Cook had the group's backing.

"If he chooses to step down, that would be a shame because we want him to carry on,” he said.

"When you lose a series 4-0, of course people will talk about the leadership. We all know that.

"We would all, at the end of this series, be having a think about what we can do better, what we have learned from this series, and what we need to do to make this team win.

"But there's nobody looking around the dressing room thinking 'ooh, I wonder who's in charge?'. It's very clear who's in charge, and that hasn't changed.”

Farbrace said until Cook or Strauss said anything different it would still be Captain Cook heading to Australia again.

"We've planned, and have been planning, for Cookie to be captain going to the Ashes in Australia next winter,” he said.

"Personally, I hope that continues.

"The most important thing is that Cookie will make the decision based on what's right for England cricket, not what's right for Alastair Cook.

"Right back to the last time in Australia (in 2013-14), he could quite easily have walked away from it.

"He didn't - and one of the things that's driven him on is he feels his team is an improving one. We all think that as well.”