Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
After giving up an unassailable 3-0 lead in their ongoing ODI series against India, England captain Alastair Cook has announced that the national team’s chances of winning the 2015 World Cup are “a bit far-fetched”.
England have now lost their fifth consecutive ODI and five out of their last six ODI series. In fact, the only series they won came against the West Indies when Cook was not in the side.
England now have 13 ODIs left until the World Cup, which means that the time for experimenting needs to stop since Cook has to find the right combination of players and let them start working together like a well-oiled machine.
“I’ve captained for three-and-a-half years with the goal to try to win the World Cup in Australia,” Cook said. “I know that seems a bit far-fetched at the moment but there’s a lot of really good players in that changing room and if we can improve at the rate we need to improve we’ve got a chance. That’s what we have to believe.”
Cook also noted that he is constantly doubting his own performance since he wants to lead by example and silence his critics.
“You always have those doubts and I’ve had those doubts for 80 games and 100 Test matches,” he said. “You always are trying to prove that you’re good enough and trying to contribute runs for an England win. That’s the ultimate aim as a batter and at international cricket you’re tested every single day, There’s always doubts, that doesn’t change.”
When asked if he would consider quitting prior to the start of the World Cup, Cook said: “At this precise moment in time, no. I don’t have a say on selection, but if I’m allowed to be, yes, I’ll be at the World Cup. If not, then I have to take that on the chin. I hope not, but if it is, it is.
“I believe at the top of the order that, if I bat for 40-odd overs, I will score enough runs at a good rate. That’s what I have done when I’ve been batting well.”
While Cook admitted that the losses have done nothing to boost team morale in the dressing room, he attributed England’s horrible form in the ongoing ODI series to poor execution rather than poor preparation.
“Maybe for a few of these guys, it is the first time that we’ve lost as badly as this,” Cook said. “It is a true test of character for the whole team, really.
“We don’t quite know our best 11 at the moment because the results are showing we’re not performing. When that happens you always start to doubt. That’s the position we’re in at the moment. We’ve got six months of one-day cricket to try and put that right.
“I don’t think our strategy does need to change. I just think we need to do it better. The first two games we got really good starts off the first 10 overs and the problem is none of us have gone on.
“It’s been our lack of execution of fairly basic skills at the moment with our batting. As a one-day batter, you need to be able to score at a good rate, at certain times take low-risk shots for a while but have the option of putting the pressure back on the opposition but also staying in. Unfortunately, we’re not doing that.
“But it’s amazing how quickly you can turn around. We’ve got to stay true to our beliefs as a team and actually the belief you have as a player because when you lose games of cricket people chip away at you and you start doubting the reason why you probably got selected in the first place.”
Cook was also quick to dismiss rumours that England’s bad form in limited overs cricket is down to the fact that they priortise Test cricket over everything else.
“You only have to look at the dressing-room now to see whether it matters or not,” Cook said. “We’re brought up in a country where Test cricket has huge importance. But just because you put huge importance on Test cricket doesn’t mean one-day cricket doesn’t count.
“We’ve got a World Cup in six months. That’s our big focus now. There is no Test cricket for six months, so it is very important.”