ENGLAND skipper Alastair Cook has played a straight bat to Australian great Shane Warne’s renewed criticism of his captaincy style, saying only results will matter in the five-Test Ashes series which starts on 21 November in Brisbane.
England have now won three consecutive Ashes series, including a 3-0 victory at home completed in August, and they arrived in Australia confident of winning four straight for the first time since the 19th century.
An English XI plays Australia A starting Wednesday in Hobart, where Cook will bat for the first time on tour after missing a warm-up match in Perth to rest his sore back.
Cook put Warne’s comments this week about his “boring” and “negative” captaincy down to “what happens when England play in Australia.”
He said this morning: “I keep saying it, it’s all about results.”Alastair Cook is unsurprised that Shane Warne has failed to change the record and is still criticising his captaincy of England.
Warne has revisited the jibes about Cook’s “boring” and “negative” tactics, which he first voiced during England’s 3-0 Ashes victory last summer, adding for good measure this time that he believes it may be a factor in the tourists losing the urn in the upcoming series.
On the eve of England’s second tour match, however, Cook dismissed Warne’s latest remarks as “old news”.
“It doesn’t seem times have changed at all, does it, since last summer?” he asked. “It’s pretty much exactly what was said in the summer. We had pretty good results then as well.”
Warne’s timing was badly off back then - because within minutes of his damning critique of Cook, Stuart Broad began England’s surge to victory in Durham where the hosts opened up a series-clinching 3-0 lead, with one to play.
“It’s not surprising, being an Australian and obviously trying to get into the English camp,” added Cook. “But I think everyone can see it.
“It is what happens when England play in Australia.
“Obviously, it’s a very high-profile series, and a there’s a lot of interest. It hasn’t changed since the summer, and we don’t expect it to over the next couple of months either.”
Cook does not appear to be likely to lose much sleep therefore about the public opinions of Australia’s record-breaking leg-spinner.
He has been more concerned, in fact, in the early stages of this tour with the physical frailties in his back.
He missed England’s drawn opening match in Perth last week, as a precaution, but reports he will be fine for the second at the Bellerive Oval.
“The back’s coming along nicely,” he said.
“It’s obviously probably a mixture of the long flight and then doing quite a bit of hard training straightaway.
“It’s not a great combination for a guy with a bit of a dodgy back.
“But I’m very proud of my fitness record in terms of the number of consecutive games I’ve played for England.
“I feel as if I’m right back there.”
His false start to the tour is therefore behind him, he hopes.
“I would have liked to have spent some time in the middle (already) - you don’t know what’s going to happen in these two games, and every opportunity you get the chance to spend some time you try to take,” he said.
“That’s a little bit frustrating, but we’ve got two four-day games now.”
England (v Australia A in Hobart, from): AN Cook (Captain), JE Root, IJL Trott, KP Pietersen, GS Ballance, JM Bairstow, MJ Prior (wkt), SCJ Broad, GP Swann, JM Anderson, ST Finn, CT Tremlett, WB Rankin, IR Bell, BA Stokes, MA Carberry.