Waugh defends England captain from Warne criticism

Former Australia skipper tells Frank Dalleres why Cook is doing just fine

ENGLAND captain Alastair Cook has found an unlikely ally in Steve Waugh after the former Australia skipper defended him against his old team-mate Shane Warne’s verbal pot-shots.

Warne goaded Cook this week by calling him “boring” and “negative”, and argued that his reluctance to take risks could cost England in the Ashes, which begins in Brisbane in a fortnight’s time.

But Waugh – who led the all-conquering Aussie side of the 1990s, which included spinner Warne – believes England’s 3-0 success on home soil during the summer is proof enough of Cook’s competence.

“Warney’s just causing a bit of a stir there. The guy won 3-0 – what more can you do as a captain? I think he’ll be more than happy with what happened in the last Ashes series,” Waugh told City A.M.

“He’s only got to have the respect of his team and he’s got that, they play well for him.

“In terms of his style, he might become a bit more expansive in this next series. Sure, they were a bit slow in the last Test but they had every right to be – they were 3-0 up.

“If you win every series 3-0, as a captain, you’re pretty happy.”

Waugh has enjoyed trading Ashes predictions with Sir Ian Botham this week, while joining the former England captain on his walk across Sri Lanka in aid of sports charity Laureus.

“Obviously you guys have got the bragging rights – you’ve won the last three Ashes – so there’s not much we can say at the moment,” he added. “I think it’ll be a pretty close series. England will be favourites, rightly so, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we win it. Australian conditions will help our players.”

Warne admits to suffering blisters in both feet in attempting to keep pace with Botham, as they raise funds for disadvantaged children whose lives have been devastated by the tsunami and civil war.

“I’d heard all the rumours and they’re all true – he walks like a maniac,” Waugh said of Botham.

“I walked alongside for the first half an hour and then slowly filtered back through the field. It was an incredible pace.”

Laureus Academy member Steve Waugh was talking on Beefy’s Big Sri Lanka Walk with Sir Ian Botham, in aid of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation. beefysbigsrilankawalk.com or donate via Justgiving.com/BeefysBigSriLankaWalk