Cook wants Flower to continue as coach despite Ashes drubbing

Australia win third Test by 150 runs to regain the urn

 Australian cricketers celebrate their Ashes win on the pitch several hours after play on day five of the 3rd Test match against  England at the WACA in Perth. Photograph: Dave Hunt/EPA

Australian cricketers celebrate their Ashes win on the pitch several hours after play on day five of the 3rd Test match against England at the WACA in Perth. Photograph: Dave Hunt/EPA

 

England captain Alastair Cook has conceded that inquests into England’s Ashes drubbing are inevitable but is convinced that he and coach Andy Flower remain the best partnership to lead the team for the rest of the series and beyond.

Both have plenty of credit in the bank, but Flower has refused to commit himself, at least in public, to staying on as team director beyond the end of the series after Australia went 3-0 up in the five-Test series with a 150-run victory in Perth.

Flower again refused to discuss his future in a post-match interview with Sky, saying only: “We’ve got two Test matches left in the series and I am absolutely hungry to do well in those games. That is as far as I’m looking at the minute.”

But Cook made it clear that he would be hugely disappointed if Flower does decide to stand down. “Yeah I do want him to carry on,” said the captain, who admitted that losing the Ashes in his 100th Test was the lowest moment of his career.

“He’s an outstanding coach, let’s make no mistake about that. He’s a great person to have around, especially for me, as a captain and the advice he gives me.

“All the stuff whether he will carry on or wants to carry on, you’ll have to ask him. But I know from my side and the dressing room’s side, it’s not down to him why we’ve lost this. It’s down to the fact we haven’t had enough players in form.”

Asked whether he and Flower could lift England from this huge disappointment, Cook added: “I think so. But if other people don’t who make the decisions, then we have to go by that decision. When you lose the Ashes and when you lose like we’ve lost, there’s always going to be people questioning my place and all that kind of stuff.”

Flower will shortly have a new line manager in Paul Downton, the former Middlesex and England wicketkeeper who was recently appointed to succeed Hugh Morris as the managing director of England cricket. That position was created by the Schofield Report following England’s last Ashes mauling in Australia in 2006-7, and Cook acknowledged the possibility that this defeat will lead to calls for similarly radical action.

“There’s always going to be inquests when you lose,” he said. “The simple fact of the matter is we haven’t had enough players in form with either bat or ball. You can’t put it any more honest than that, and people in the dressing room know that. It hurts like hell when you come into a contest and you end up being second best.”

He appeared to rule out the possibility of England looking to the future when selecting their team for the remaining two Tests in Melbourne and Sydney, now that the Ashes have gone, and looking to introduce more youth following the stunning success of Ben Stokes on his second Test appearance in Perth.

Cook has acknowledged that it is the underperformance of the senior players – most obviously his vice-captain Matt Prior, Jimmy Anderson and Graeme Swann with the ball, and Ian Bell, Kevin Pietersen and himself with the bat – which has allowed Australia to dominate. But he said: “I think for this tour we’ll do what we always do – try to pick the side and try to prepare the side which we think is the best side to win the next game.

“There’s always a balancing act with sides when you lose – trying to introduce new players. Are they better than the players you’ve got? We haven’t done ourselves justice out there in these three games. People haven’t performed like we know they could have done, and it’s frustrating when that happens.

“You deal in facts. We lost three games. You only have to look at the Australian side. There’s a few guys on the back end of 30 delivering a huge amount of success for Australia. What I would say is unfortunately when we needed people to be in form and playing well, we haven’t done that, and that’s why we lost.”

(Guardian Service)

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