Bayliss: Cook captaincy speculation ‘a pain in the backside’

"It's a little bit aggravating"

“It’s a little bit aggravating”

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

Speculation has been rife that England captain Alastair Cook could step down as Test captain, so much so that head coach Trevor Bayliss has branded it as “a pain in the backside”.

Cook’s future as skipper came into the spotlight after he told The Cricket Magazine: “Deep down I don’t know how much longer I am going to carry on. It could be two months, it could be a year.”

Following the conclusion of the fourth Test between England and India in Mumbai on Monday, which the hosts won by an innings and 36 runs, Cook said that Joe Root was ready to become to captain. This further fueled the rumours that Cook is preparing to resign from the leadership position at the end of the ongoing tour of India.

The 31-year-old has not been at his best with the bat in the series against India and has come under heavy criticism for the decisions he has made as captain.

Having witnessed Cook being hounded from all directions, Bayliss has come to the aid of the England skipper, saying that all the speculation has taken a toll on the Gloucester native.

“I think everyone, to a man, in the dressing room would be disappointed if he wasn’t captain,” Bayliss said. “But when it’s constantly in the media all the time, it’s a bit of a pain in the backside. Especially when no one around the team believes that or thinks that. It’s a little bit aggravating.

“I suppose anyone who’s done the job for that long, there’s always going to be questions towards the twilight of his career. But the job he’s done with the group, I think, has been fantastic.”

In order to end all the talk about Cook’s future as captain, Bayliss has confirmed that he will speak to the 31-year-old and England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) director Andrew Strauss about it.

“We’ve had some discussions in the past,” he said. “But those two guys – Cook and Strauss – have obviously had a big history. I’m sure we’ll have a chat between the two or three of us.”

Bayliss added that he feels England have been portrayed in a negative light too often throughout their tour of India as a lot has been dwelled upon Cook’s captaincy and the 3-0 lead India currently hold going into the fifth and final Test in Chennai.

While Bayliss admitted that the scoreline makes it seem as if England have failed to put up a fight, he pointed out that the series has helped identify future stars in openers Haseeb Hameed and Keaton Jennings, while it has also served as a warning as to the amount of damage spinner Adil Rashid is capable of inflicting with the ball.

“It takes the focus away from all the good things we’ve done on this tour,” Bayliss said. “I think we’ve played some good cricket here. We’ve got to give credit where credit’s due: we’ve played good cricket and they’ve played even better cricket.”

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