England may have 'stagnated' in 2016, concedes Cook

Virat Kohli celebrates as Alastair Cook is caught at leg slip © Associated Press

Alastair Cook has conceded that England’s Test fortunes may have “stagnated” over the past 12 months, but confirms he will not rush any decision on the future of his Test captaincy, in spite of another humiliating defeat in the fifth and final match of England’s tour of India.

Cook’s dismissal for 49 in the first hour after lunch was the catalyst for another dramatic collapse on the final afternoon in Chennai, as England lost ten wickets for 104 runs in 48.2 overs – including their last six for 16 – to slump to defeat by an innings and 75 runs, and a 4-0 series loss.

The defeat was England’s eighth in 17 Tests in 2016, equalling their record number of losses for a calendar year, and they will finish the year at No. 5 in the Test rankings, some way below the levels they might have anticipated after winning both the Ashes and a memorable away win against South Africa.

When asked by Sky Sports if England had “stagnated” under his leadership, Cook responded: “That’s a fair shout, you can say whatever you want now, if I turn around here and slag everyone off and use emotive language, I’m not going my job. When you lose Test cricket, you get criticised. You have to take it on the chin.”

The defeat was Cook’s 22nd in 59 Tests at the helm, meaning he has overtaken Michael Atherton as England’s most defeated captain in Test history. However, he confirmed he will wait until the dust has settled on the tour before deciding whether to carry on as captain, following an anticipated meeting with Andrew Strauss, England’s team director, in the New Year.

“This is not the place to be standing asking me these questions,” Cook said. “I have to go away and do some thinking. I need to get back home and do it without the emotive side of what’s happened over the last nine weeks.”

Nevertheless, the defeat at Chennai was England’s second by an innings in as many matches, and just as in Mumbai last week, they were blown away in spite of winning the toss and posting a large first-innings total – 400 at the Wankhede, 477 at Chepauk.

“I don’t think we ran out of fight, all the guys gave their all, but weren’t good enough,” Cook said. “Whether that’s a culmination of the pressure being built up over a long period of time, or a bit of mental tiredness, people will look at that and say it’s an excuse, but we haven’t been good enough in these conditions.

“I said at the beginning of the series, it was vitally important to stay in the contest as long as we can, because we’ve seen in previous tours here, it’s a hard juggernaut to stop, the India juggernaut at home, when there are playing as well as that. Once they get ahead, their confidence goes and it’s hard to stop that momentum.

“Whether 4-0 is fair or not, it’s hard to say,” he added. “We’ve struggled to take 20 wickets and we haven’t got enough runs, so we probably didn’t deserve much more than that.

“We’ve missed opportunities, we’ve been in games and had good fortune to win four out of five tosses, but we haven’t pushed home our advantages. Sometimes you have to hold hands up and say we are not good enough in these conditions. We will have to be better when we come back.”

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Source: ESPN Crickinfo

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