England head coach Trevor Bayliss has labelled fervent speculation over the future of Alastair Cook as Test captain as a “pain in the backside”.
Cook confirmed in the wake of his side’s thrashing by India in the fourth Test in Mumbai that the scale of defeat, which gave the hosts a 3-0 series lead, inevitably led to him asking questions of himself.
The 31-year-old, who pre-tour appeared to suggest that he would relish a time when he could concentrate solely on his batting, intends to meet with director of cricket Andrew Strauss in the new year to discuss matters.
Bayliss has previously backed Cook to still be in charge during next year’s Ashes series, while a number of senior players have also spoken in favour of the left-handed opener. Bayliss, meanwhile, has admitted the incessant focus is starting to grate.
“When it’s constantly in the media all the time, it’s a bit of a pain in the backside, especially when no-one else [around the team] believes that or thinks that,” said Bayliss.
“It’s a little bit aggravating. It takes the focus away from all the good things we’ve done on this tour. I think we’ve played some good cricket here. We’ve got to give credit where credit is due – we’ve played good cricket, and India have played even better cricket.
“[But] I suppose anyone who’s done the job for that long, there’s always going to be questions towards the twilight of his career. The job he’s done with the group, I think has been fantastic.
“I think everyone, to a man, in the room would be disappointed if he wasn’t captain for next year.”
Defeat in Mumbai was England’s seventh of 2016, while a further loss in Chennai in the fifth and final Test, which starts on Friday, would see the tourists suffer their worst year since 1993.
Opening pair Keaton Jennings Haseeb Hameed, meanwhile, have been included in the England Lions squad to tour Sir Lanka in February and March.
Jennings scored a century on his Test debut in Mumbai, while Hameed played three matches in India before being sidelined with a hand injury.