• Cricket

Swann: I wanted my friend Cook to step down

ESPN staff
July 22, 2014
Alastair Cook's role as captain continues to be a main talking point © Getty Images

Alastair Cook may be "desperate" to stay on and try to turn things around as England captain but even his friends are starting to doubt that is a good idea.

Graeme Swann, who played alongside the batsman and for him after he became skipper, admits the sorry second Test defeat at Lord's, which was completed in farcical fashion on Monday afternoon, left him concerned for Cook.

"I was seriously worried for my mate Alastair Cook as I watched England crash to that defeat in the second Test," former England spinner Swann wrote in his column for The Sun.

"The friend in me was desperately wanting him to step aside and take the monkey of captaincy off his back. This pressure looked to be proving too much and he has been taking the blame for far too much that is not his fault.

England slumped to a 95-run loss to trail 1-0 in the series and have now gone 10 Tests without a victory. They collapsed after lunch from 173-4 to 223 all out, with Cook's captaincy once again being called into question and many critics claiming he should step down.

Cook has scored only 420 runs in 19 innings over the last 11 months but has made it clear he has no intention of handing over the captaincy without being forced - something his friend Swann would not want to happen.

The former spinner said: "Listening to him [Cook] say - in no uncertain terms - after the match he believes he is the man for the job, you saw that stubbornness that made him England's leading Test centurion.

"In that respect you can't help but be impressed. And if he thinks he can turn it around, I remain fully behind him too."

Swann pinned some of the blame on the rest of the team, saying: "The team have let him down. And while not through lack of trying, that killer instinct is missing from England's cricket."

He also added that if Cook was to step aside, there would be no ready-made candidate to replace him.

"Besides, I don't think there is a viable alternative in the current set-up. Internally, people keep saying Joe Root could step up," he said.

"But I don't think he is the man for the job. At least not yet - he has to establish himself first.

"His character is what makes him the player he is and, if you strip that away, it could have the same effect on his batting as Cooky is experiencing."

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