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Cook’s captaincy, a painful topic for Bayliss

Alastair Cook may well be leading England for the last time, if reactions to his side’s crushing defeat in India, are anything to go by.

Cook’s captaincy, a painful topic for Bayliss
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Alastair Cook?s captaincy is under the scanner after the disastrous tour of India

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England head coach Trevor Bayliss admitted any question about Cook’s future as captain is a “pain in the backside”. Before the series in India, Cook said he was looking forward to not being skipper and after the fourth Test defeat, he admitted to having questions over his role. “It’s a little bit aggravating,” Australian Bayliss told BBC “I think everyone, to a man, in the room would be disappointed if he wasn’t captain next year.” 

Cook, who will be 32 later in December, took over as captain from Andrew Strauss in 2012 and has led England in a record 58 Tests. He won the Ashes series in 2013 and 2015, but he has also had dismal performances, including the whitewash in Australia in 2013-14 and the following summer when England suffered defeats by Sri Lanka at Headingley and India at Lord’s. 

The left-handed opener, the first to score 10,000 Test runs for England, has previously stated his intention to lead in the Ashes 2017 series. But after the debacle in Mumbai, Cook’s fourth defeat in five matches and one that sealed the series for India, Cook said he felt vice-captain Joe Root was ready for leadership. The Essex batsman will meet with England director of cricket Strauss after the India tour, as he does after each series. “Those two guys have obviously had a big history,” Bayliss said. “I’m sure we’ll have a chat between the two or three of us.” 

After the India tour concludes in Chennai with the fifth Test which starts on Friday, England do not have another fiveday match until July, meaning Cook will have more than six months away from the international game. “I suppose anyone who’s done the job for that long, there’s always going to be questions towards the twilight of his career,” Bayliss said. The coach added that he is trying to stop the conjecture from affecting the dressing room. “When it’s constantly in the media all the time, it’s a bit of a pain in the backside - especially when no-one else around the team believes that or thinks that.” “You start having questions, of course you do,” said Cook after the Mumbai defeat. “Naturally, you look at stuff.” 

“You’re thrown in at the deep end and you either sink or swim. Nothing can really prepare you for it,” said Cook of England captaincy. “But he’s (Root) ready because he’s a clued-up guy and he’s got the respect of everyone in the changing-room. He hasn’t got much captaincy experience, but that doesn’t mean he can’t be a very good captain.” Root’s only senior leadership experience has come in county cricket for Yorkshire and as vice-captain to Cook since the summer of 2015. “When you lose, the captain takes a lot of responsibility but he’s got broad shoulders,” Bayliss told Sky Sports. “Over the past 12, 18 months we’ve seen improvements in the way he captains the team.” Cook, who captained England in Bangladesh in 2010 before taking on the role permanently in 2012, has won 24 of his 58 Tests in charge. He has also 21 Test defeats.

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