Cook blasts so-called friend Swann

Alastair Cook saw his team beaten in Cardiff

Alastair Cook saw his team beaten in Cardiff

First published in National Sport News © by

Alastair Cook numbers Graeme Swann as only a "so-called friend" after his former team-mate's assertion that England would be better off without his captaincy at the World Cup.

Cook's team put in a wretched performance with ball and then bat on the way to a 133-run Royal London Series defeat against India in Cardiff - after which he was at a loss to explain why they were "not at the races".

There was little to cheer on the field as Suresh Raina hit a brilliant 74-ball hundred in India's 304 for six and then England were bowled out for 161 in pursuit of a revised target of 295.

But if anything, Cook appeared even less pleased by ex-England off-spinner Swann's remarks from the sidelines in his role as a pundit, that for his own sake and his team's he should give one-day internationals a miss for the remainder of his career.

"I don't think it's that helpful - especially from a so-called friend," said Cook, who spent much of the summer resisting similar calls to step aside from the Test captaincy - before making many eat their words as England fought back to beat India 3-1.

Swann is adamant Cook's ODI strike rate does not set the tone that will make England competitive in next year's World Cup in New Zealand and Australia.

"He's entitled to his opinion," added Cook.

"(But) it's not ideal for me, especially when you get through the summer I've had."

He has not contacted Swann - but has left open the possibility that a call could come in the opposite direction.

"The phone is always open the other way," said Cook, before repeating he will not be deflected from his intention to lead England down under next winter.

"I am a little bit (disappointed) - because he is a good friend of mine, and has been a supporter.

"It's not helpful at this time, because I am going to be captain in this World Cup.

"I've done it for three-and-a-half years. We're going to build up to that, and we've got a good chance."

Cook acknowledges, however, much better will be required if England are to beat the best.

"Obviously, if we play like that we're not going to win many games of cricket.

"But the talent in the changing room is there. We've got a lot of improvement to do.

"It's frustrating. We weren't quite at the races today, and I don't quite know why."

England began well with the ball, reducing India to 19 for two, and then with the bat as Cook and debutant Alex Hales put on a half-century opening stand.

But precious little else went right.

"You could look at some good spots, I suppose," said Cook.

"I thought Chris Woakes bowled nicely up front, and came back pretty strong when the carnage was happening.

"Obviously, it wasn't a 300 wicket - and it wasn't a 160 wicket.

"But it's one game, isn't it? It's one day of cricket.

"When you don't get it right - like we haven't today - it's not the end of the world at all."

England are 1-0 down, as they were after two Tests, and as then too they still have three to play.

Their next opportunity will come at Trent Bridge on Saturday.

"You don't win every game of cricket you play - and you certainly don't win many when you play like that," added their captain.

"The lads in the changing room will know that. They don't need me to tell them.

"So, it's dust ourselves off and try to come back and play better next time."

For Cook's opposite number Mahendra Singh Dhoni, there is a contrasting mission - to try to stay in front this time.

Dhoni shared a stand of 144 with Raina, and was one of two batsmen apart from the centurion to pass 50.

It was Raina's hundred that changed the game, and Dhoni said: "It was a fantastic knock.

"It was important he stayed there, because he was one batsman who was set.

"We realised that if we could get a partnership going, if we had wickets in hand, we could make a lot of runs in the last 10-12 overs.

"So his innings was very crucial."

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