Steely Cook vows to stay on as captain

England

England captain Alastair Cook was defiant in the face of suggestions he step down as skipper in the wake of the second Test defeat to India at Lord's, saying he would not quit until somebody higher up told him to.

England captain Alastair Cook was defiant in the face of suggestions he step down as skipper in the wake of the second Test defeat to India at Lord's, saying he would not quit until somebody higher up told him to.

Cook has been under heavy fire as skipper and opener this past year, not scoring a ton in nearly 30 Test innings, and now with the defeat to India added to it, calls are loud for his resignation. But he's shut that idea down quickly.

Cook said after the game: "It gets harder and harder the more we don't win and it all heaps on me at the end of the day. Until I get that tap on the shoulder saying 'We don't want you to be captain' I'm desperate to turn things around for England.

"If I'm not good enough at the end of the summer, then so be it. I'm trying my heart out to do this but I need to score runs and we need to start winning. I'm here as long as they want me.

"I've got an inner steel, which I've got to keep drawing on. First of all I've got to keep scoring runs, a lot of things can change quickly from there. I hit the ball better here. I've got to back myself that a score will come.

"The recent past hasn't been kind to me but we have won games with me as captain and I've won a lot of one-day games as well. It's a team game, I'm fronting up and I hope the lads in the dressing room as well."

Cook recognised that England had not won a Test in 10 matches, and that the senior players had not been pulling their weight compared to younger guys like Gary Ballance, Joe Root and Liam Plunkett.

He continued: "It's definitely an issue of confidence and getting over the finish line. There's a group of players in there who are desperate to win for England.

"We haven't won for a long time and the longer that builds up it's going to take a serious performance from a couple of players to drag us over the line. We're not getting that at the moment.

"It will take a lot of determination to turn this around. The lads are hurting in the dressing room, we've got a few days off to go home and recover and then we'll come back to Southampton.

"A lot of the standout performances have been by the younger players, which is great the way they're handling Test cricket. The older guys aren't playing as well as their records suggest and that's hurting us.

"To win games of cricket we need at least nine or ten people playing really well. It's not happening for those guys at the moment, they've got to look at themselves. I've got to start scoring runs as well, that can only happen with a lot of hard work."

One of the senior players under scrutiny is wicketkeeper Matt Prior, who had a nightmare with the gloves, and also failed with the bat in both innings. But Cook insisted Prior was the man to stand behind the stumps.

He said: "It's all up to Matt. He wants to carry on playing for England. He's got a serious amount of talent, he's been a fantastic player for England.

"It's all in the mind and he's desperate to keep on playing and wants to turn this around. He's got a place because at the moment I think he's the best wicketkeeper batsman in the country. He has to keep proving it but his record in the past suggests that.

"There were some tough takes there as well, Lord's has the ability to make a keeper look silly at some stage, so a lot of that wasn't his own fault, but he's a fighter and we want people like that in the dressing room."

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