Alastair Cook is the right man to lead England, insists Peter Moores... but admits no-one is unsackable ahead of World Cup

  • England captain Alastair Cook dropped Kumar Sangakkara on 41
  • The Sri Lanka left-hander went on to make a run-a-ball 112 
  • Sri Lanka beat England by 90 runs in their sixth ODI in Pallekele
  • Cook remains under considerable pressure after his showing  ]
  • England coach Peter Moores admitted no-one is unsackable 

Peter Moores has insisted Alastair Cook is the right man to take England to the World Cup in February, while admitting it is ‘ridiculous’ to suggest no one is ‘unsackable’.

As the tourists left Kandy’s hill-country this morning for Colombo and, on Tuesday, their final game of cricket in 2014, it was sobering to reflect that the same questions were swirling around Cook’s leadership when they played their first game of the year at Sydney back in January.

The questions then concerned the Test job; now it is about the one-day position.

Alastair Cook remains under pressure after another disappointing performance for England

Alastair Cook remains under pressure after another disappointing performance for England

Cook said his dropping of Sri Lanka's Kumar Sangakkara on 41 was a 'really costly drop'

Cook said his dropping of Sri Lanka's Kumar Sangakkara on 41 was a 'really costly drop'

Cook takes the field for what would be a tough day at the office for the England captain in the sixth ODI

Cook takes the field for what would be a tough day at the office for the England captain in the sixth ODI

But the storyline has been a constant, and the England coach did his best to play down suggestions that there remained any doubt about Cook’s World Cup role. In that, he was not always successful.

‘It hasn’t changed,’ said Moores. ‘Alastair is announced as captain of our World Cup team. But I’ve said on every tour we go on, it will be wrong not to go back and look at everything that’s happened with the other selectors.

‘That’s the way it should be. It’s fair to the public that way. We’ll do exactly the same this time. But Alastair is our captain, and nothing has changed on that front for the moment.’

Confusion arose following an interview Moores gave to Ian Ward on Sky Sports after Saturday’s 90-run thrashing by Sri Lanka in Pallekele, a result that left England 4-2 down and with only pride to play for in Colombo.

Moores told Ward that England would review ‘everything’ at the end of the series – a comment in which it was possible to read a lack of unequivocal support for his captain.

This morning, it was still possible to read between the lines. ‘Alastair has said very clearly that he is very keen to carry on, and wants to remain as captain of England,’ said Moores.

‘He knows nobody has got the guarantee of that. I hear someone say no one’s unsackable. That would be a ridiculous comment.

‘We’ve got four selectors, and we always pick what we think is the best team – and that will be no different moving forward.’ 

Peter Moores insisted Cook is the right man to lead England at next year's World Cup

Peter Moores insisted Cook is the right man to lead England at next year's World Cup

Sangakkara leaves the field in Kandy for the final time after spearheading Sri Lanka's 90-run ODI win

Sangakkara leaves the field in Kandy for the final time after spearheading Sri Lanka's 90-run ODI win

The keeper-batsman's team-mates ensure their veteran leads them off the field after clinching the series

The keeper-batsman's team-mates ensure their veteran leads them off the field after clinching the series

It is more likely, amid the current climate of dissatisfaction at Cook’s batting and England’s one-day results, that Moores is simply trying to avoid being seen to rubber-stamp the future of a struggling captain.

Talk of being ‘fair to the public’ feels like a bit of a sop: it is only eight days since Cook was confirmed as World Cup captain, and it would be an embarrassing admission of failure by the management to change their minds now.

Moores may also be reluctant to pre-empt the discussion he will have after this is over with fellow selectors James Whitaker, Angus Fraser and Mick Newell.

Whichever way you look at it, however, it seems inconceivable that Cook will not captain England in Australia and New Zealand, despite scoring a single half-century in his last 21 one-day internationals.

And Moores was on firmer ground when he spoke of the progress made by others here in Sri Lanka.

‘We’ve had some real bonus performances by people – Moeen Ali at the top of the order, Joe Root played beautifully again – but we need to put the bowling, batting and fielding together at the same time.

‘We’ve got to get that right by the tri-series [against Australia and India] and, obviously, moving into that World Cup.’

Try as Moores might, though, the Cook question is likely to rumble on. Rarely can an England captain have approached the seventh match of a one-day series in such desperate need of a score.

After putting down Sangakkara, who got 112, Cook was out LBW to Sachithra Senanayake for just one

After putting down Sangakkara, who got 112, Cook was out LBW to Sachithra Senanayake for just one