Cook has to learn to ‘accept constructive criticism from ex-players’, says Geoffrey Boycott

"He and other former players like myself are not there to fawn over England or be cheerleaders for the captain and his players"

“He and other former players like myself are not there to fawn over England or be cheerleaders for the captain and his players”

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Legendary England batsman Geoffrey Boycott has announced that captain Alastair Cook has to learn to “accept constructive criticism from ex-players”.

Boycott’s comments come after Cook was infuriated with former off-spinner Graeme Swann’s comments about the national team not having a “cat in hell’s chance of winning the World Cup”.

“England need a fresh approach but they also need to be able to accept constructive criticism from ex-players like myself,” Boycott wrote in his column for The Daily Telegraph. “Just look how Cook responded when his ‘so-called friend’ Swann made constructive comments about England’s one-day team and Cook got his ‘knickers in a twist’.

“What he should realise is Graeme is now paid to give his opinions in the media. He and other former players like myself are not there to fawn over England or be cheerleaders for the captain and his players.

“We all want England to play well and win but if we think they have not got it right are we supposed to say nothing? Well that is not going to happen. People like Graeme Swann and Michael Vaughan can see the format of the team could be bettered and so can I.

“Take your heads from out of the sand and into the modern era of one day cricket or else there will be more bad days ahead.”

Throughout the ongoing ODI series against India, England’s batsmen have struggled against spin bowling.

Boycott pointed out that England have to rectify this problem before they head to Sri Lanka in November or it will be the same story all over again.

“England play slow bowling well on flat pitches when it does not spin,” he said. “It is a different ball game when the ball turns. Then they are crease-bound and terrified to use their feet against the spinners.

“On Saturday at Nottingham not one of them went down the pitch and played with the spin and looked to push the ball into the gaps for singles to rotate the strike. The cross bat sweep or reverse sweep seemed to be their only solution.

“Whenever pitches have turned abroad England have been hopeless. The exceptions are Bombay in 2012 and Colombo the same year when England won because Kevin Pietersen (now exiled from the England set-up made two fabulous centuries which meant England had lots of runs for their two very good spinners, Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar, to bowl the opposition out.

“Now Swann has retired and it seems Panesar has lost his focus. We cannot play spinners and we do not have one to bowl at the opposition.

“We are still thinking in the old fashioned way from when I played, pack your batting and bowl fast medium line and length. That only works on seaming swinging pitches but the next World Cup is in Australia and New Zealand and will not have those types of pitches.”

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