No respite for under-fire Cook

Alastair Cook is determined to carry on as England captain

Alastair Cook is determined to carry on as England captain

First published in National Sport © by

England captain Alastair Cook is in no mood to relinquish his responsibilities in adversity, and therefore has urgent business to attend to before the third Investec Test in Southampton.

Cook made it abundantly clear, after England's descent to a 95-run defeat against India at Lord's, that he still wants to lead from the front in efforts to battle back this summer.

In three days, England must report to the Ageas Bowl to prepare for the start of the next match in a punishing five-Test series - and will be without Matt Prior after the struggling wicketkeeper announced he was taking a break to deal with injuries.

But for Cook, there will be significant matters arising long before Friday - some within his control, others which are not.

In the latter category is the medium-term future of senior pace bowler James Anderson, dependent on the outcome of an International Cricket Council hearing into his Trent Bridge spat with India all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja.

The preliminary stage of a disciplinary procedure which could result in a four-match ban is scheduled to take place, by teleconference, on Tuesday morning.

Cook will have some input when England's selectors decide, also on Tuesday morning, which playing personnel to retain or otherwise to try to recover from a 1-0 deficit.

Whoever joins him, Cook has satisfied himself that England's Lord's defeat - only their second against India at HQ - was not down to his leadership.

"I think a captain is only as good as the players you have with you," he said.

"I don't think it was because of my captaincy that we lost this game."

He is determined not to leave his post yet, despite the clamour in some quarters for him to do so as his run drought continues and England's sequence of setbacks extends to 10 matches without a Test win and seven defeats in nine.

"I'm desperate to carry on," he added.

"There might be a time when I'm not. But at this precise moment in time, I want to - and I want to be at the front when we win games of cricket."

Cook's 'new era', alongside returning coach Peter Moores after last winter's Ashes whitewash, has stumbled into being - amid mediocre returns from senior players, including the likes of Prior and Ian Bell.

Others, including Joe Root and Moeen Ali who shared a century stand before England lost their last six wickets for 50 runs to be bowled out for 223, principally by Ishant Sharma (seven for 74), have fared much better.

"The young guys have turned up and played to their potential," added Cook.

"Myself, Ian Bell, Stuart Broad and Matt haven't played as well as we can.

"The past records are fantastic, to be very proud of.

"But Test cricket is a very tough environment to survive in.

"The game owes you nothing, just because you've done it in the past; you have to keep performing for England - that's what Test cricket is about.

"The selectors have always got to think 'Are we putting the best side out on the park?'"

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