Shane Warne has launched another stinging attack on Alastair Cook, whom he believes should either step down as England captain or take a break from cricket.
The champion Australian spinner has been Cook’s most outspoken critic in the last 12 months, and has clearly got under the skin of the left-hander, who stated last week that he believes the judgments are becoming personal.
But in the wake of England’s first Test series defeat to Sri Lanka on home soil, just a matter of months following their Ashes humiliation, Warne thinks Cook, whose own form has stagnated in the last year, needs to step aside .
Writing in his column for the Daily Telegraph, he said: “There are three ways to go with Alastair ‘Cooked’ Cook. Everyone sticks their head in the sand and just allows things to keep going as is and hope he finds form with the bat and by a miracle discovers some tactical brains from somewhere. Two: he steps down from the captaincy to concentrate on his batting. Three: the most radical of all, he has a complete break away from the game.
“Lots of people, including me, think it is time for him to step down as captain.
“The most disappointing thing for me is that he has not learned or improved after a horrible 5-0 drumming in Australia, in fact he has got worse.
“He is not thinking straight. He is not there. He is confused. He does not know what to do and because he is in a rut with his form it makes life a lot worse. You just cannot captain a team in transition in that frame of mind.”
England suffered a 100-run defeat to the Sri Lankans at Headingley on Tuesday to lose the two-Test series after the tourists escaped with a draw in the opening match at Lord’s.
Much of the damage in Leeds was done on day four as Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews was allowed to compile a wonderful 160 to build his side’s lead to 350 before their bowlers reduced Cook’s men to 5-57 before the close.
“On Monday at Headingley I witnessed the worst day of captaincy I have ever seen at international level in almost 25 years in the game. It was horrific, and I am not the only one singing that tune,” said Warne, who is the second highest Test wicket-taker of all time with 708 scalps.
“He just does not get it. Everyone watching could see the game needed a change of pace; bowl the spinner or make the seamers try and actually get Angelo Mathews out.
“You just cannot bowl the same stuff over after over like he did – good captains try things and are proactive, not hopeful.”
Warne also refuted Cook’s suggestions that his negative comments were a personal attack as a means to undermine the 29-year-old’s authority.