Birmingham: England captain Alastair Cook insisted he still wanted to lead the side at the World Cup despite conceding the team's chances of triumphing at next year's tournament were "far-fetched" following another mauling by India.
England captain Alastair Cook
The reigning world champions inflicted a humiliating nine-wicket defeat upon England in the fourth one-day international at Edgbaston on Tuesday to take an unbeatable 3-0 lead in the five-match series. India dismissed England for just 206, a total that owed much to number seven Moeen Ali's 67.
They then coasted to victory with more than 19 overs to spare after Ajinkya Rahane, whose 106 was his maiden ODI century, and Shikhar Dhawan (97 not out) put on 183 for the first wicket. Defeat saw England suffer a fifth loss in their last six ODI series. England only have a diet of limited overs cricket between now and the start of the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand in February.
But their chances of lifting the trophy for the first time in what will be 40 years' of trying look as remote as they have since they made the last of their three losing appearances in the final in 1992 -- the only previous occasion when the tournament was staged 'Down Under'.
Former England off-spinner Graeme Swann recently urged Cook to quit one-day cricket and concentrate solely on Tests. But Cook, whose nine on Tuesday meant he has gone 38 innings without an ODI hundred, faced similar calls to stand down as Test skipper from half-a-dozen former England captains earlier in the season, only to lead the team to a 3-1 series win over India. Cook, asked if he would be England's captain at the World Cup, replied: "If I'm allowed to be, yes.
"I don't have a say on selection, but I've captained for three-and-a-half years with the goal to try to win the World Cup in Australia. He added: "I know that seems a bit far-fetched at the moment when we're losing games of cricket, but there are a lot of really good players in that changing room. "If we can improve at the rate we need to improve, we've got a chance." England, beaten heavily for the third match in a row, will try to avoid further embarrassment in the series finale at Headingley on Friday. "Maybe for a few of these guys, it's the first time it's happened that we've lost as badly as this and it's a true test of character for the whole team, really," Cook said. - World Cup focus - Former England captain Michael Vaughan has criticised the team's "old-fashioned" approach to one-day cricket.
But Cook said the problem was more fundamental than that. "I don't think it's been our mind-set really," he said. "I think it's been our lack of execution of fairly basic skills at the moment with our batting." One explanation often advanced for England's poor record in 50-over cricket is that everyone involved in the English game puts so much more emphasis on Test cricket.
However, Cook said: "You only have to look at the dressing-room to see whether it matters or not now. "Just because you put huge importance on Test cricket doesn't mean one-day cricket doesn't count. "We've got a World Cup in six months.
That's our big focus now. "There is no Test cricket for six months, so it is very important." Meanwhile India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni was left to reflect on a "complete game". "With the World Cup coming up, it is very important we start doing well outside the subcontinent," said Dhoni, who led India to triumph on home soil at the 2011 edition.