England lose Ashes and face 5-0 rout but captain says coach must stay on
BEATEN England captain Alastair Cook has urged cricket chiefs to stick with team director Andy Flower, despite losing the Ashes and remaining on course for a whitewash in Perth yesterday.
Flower refused to commit to England beyond this series after seeing Australia take an unassailable 3-0 lead with two matches to spare and reclaim the urn for the first time since 2006.
But Cook insists the man who masterminded England’s longest reign of Ashes dominance for 30 years remains right for the job and backed him to lift the team in one of its darkest moments.
“I want him to carry on. He’s an outstanding coach, let’s make no mistake about that. He’s a great person to have around, especially for me, as a captain and the advice he gives me,” he said.
“Whether he’ll carry on or wants to carry on, you’ll have to ask him, but I know from my side and the dressing room’s side, it’s not down to him why we’ve lost this. It’s down to the fact we haven’t had enough players in form.”
Cook said Flower could steer them back to success, adding “but if other people don’t who make the decisions, then we have to go by that decision.”
Flower, whose future beyond this series was the subject of pre-tour speculation, rejected an opportunity to dispel doubts over his commitment following yesterday’s 150-run defeat.
“We’ve got two Test matches left in this series and I’m absolutely hungry to do well in those,” he said. “That is as far as I’m looking at the moment.”
England’s first century of the series, a maiden Test ton for all-rounder Ben Stokes, took the tourists to within 200 of their world record target.
But his dismissal precipitated the end, paceman and star of the three matches Mitchell Johnson fittingly taking the final wicket of James Anderson.
“I’m sure there will be a lot of inquests – there always are when you lose,” added Cook. “It’s a tough dressing room to be in. We haven’t had enough people in form and we have been punished for it. They just outplayed us.”
Cook denied Australia had surprised his team – “We knew what a good side they were in England” – while Flower also rejected suggestions of complacency among a team that had won three successive Ashes series and reached world No1.
“I don’t think we have underestimated them,” said Flower. “They have just played some outstanding cricket to beat us as soundly as they have.”
THE END OF AN ERA
This England team as we know it is now finished. Only five players are safe from the chop