SYDNEY (Reuters) - England’s Alastair Cook admits Shane Warne’s criticism of his captaincy raised his blood pressure a notch but is happy to let his record speak for itself going into the second Ashes series of the year.
Since the stylish batsman took the job in August last year after the unexpected retirement of Andrew Strauss, England have lost one test in 14 and triumphed in series against India, New Zealand and Australia.
Warne’s claim that Cook was unimaginative by comparison with his opposite number Michael Clarke and could cost England the Ashes with his on-field leadership was only to be expected from a former Australian great, the England skipper said.
“It is what happens when England play Australia. It hasn’t changed since the summer and we don’t expect it to change over the next couple of months,” Cook told reporters in Hobart on the eve of England’s warm-up match against Australia A on Tuesday.
”I’ve always said I‘m trying to learn on the job from experience and there will be times where I could be slightly more imaginative ...
”We’ve had a pretty good run so far as a test side. In my first year as a test captain we’ve won away in India which we hadn’t done for a long time and won a series against Australia.
“I think those are things we can be very proud of as a side.”
Cook has recovered from the back problem that ruled him out of England’s opening tour match in Perth and is expected to lead his team in the four-day match at the Bellerive Oval.
On the 2010-11 tour of Australia, Cook scored three centuries, including an unbeaten 235, and 766 runs at average of 127 as England won an Ashes series away from home for the first time in a quarter of a century.
The 28-year-old lefthander failed to score a century in the 3-0 series win over Australia in England earlier this year, however.
The memory of his rich run of form three years ago would therefore make him a tad more comfortable at the Australian test venues, he said, but would not be a factor once the first test starts in Brisbane on November 21.
“It doesn’t count for anything now, you always have to prove yourself as a batter,” Cook added.
“There’s always someone saying ‘last time he didn’t score runs’. Situations don’t change. The difference is probably that I‘m now responsible for the team.”
That responsibility had two distinct sides to it, Cook said, the private man-management in the dressing room and the team hotel and the very public tactical decisions on the pitch.
But, as was pointed out by the many current and former England players who rallied to Cook’s defense in the face of Warne’s volley, the success or otherwise of a captain is ultimately judged on one thing only.
”It’s all about results,“ Cook said. ”In sport it is pretty black and white.
“In cricket you can draw but most of the time in sport you win or lose and luckily at the moment with the players we’ve got we’ve done quite a lot of winning...”
Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Amlan Chakraborty