COOKIE’S BEEN AL OF A LEADER Super skipper was key to Ashes win, says England coach Flower
STUART BROAD may have been the fourth Test hero, but England’s Ashes success is all down to captain fantastic Alastair Cook.
That’s the view of coach Andy Flower, who reckons anyone still criticising Cook must be CRAZY.
Cook has enjoyed some landmark successes since inheriting the role from Andrew Strauss last year, overseeing a series win in India before Christmas and now taking his side to a 3-0 scoreline over the old enemy with one Test still to play.
Despite that, he has been knocked in some quarters for being overly cautious and has seen his field placings and declaration decisions debated in the commentary box.
But Flower reckons the Ashes series could have been very different if not for the massive part played by Cook.
England moved into an unassailable lead thanks as Broad destroyed the Aussie batsmen in a scintillating final session on day four at Durham.
But Flower was quick to praise Cook, not least for the decision to restore Tim Bresnan to the attack at a pivotal point of the game.
The Yorkshireman took the key wicket of the dangerous David Warner to swing the match in England’s favour.
Flower said: “It was nice being part of that afternoon session where Broad and Cook turned things around for us.
“Cook’s captaincy has been excellent. He’s been strong in the dressing room and out in the field.
“He made some decisions that turned the game – bringing on Bresnan, who got Warner straight away.
“He’s been maligned in some areas, I’ve heard. I’m not sure what is said off the field but we judge ourselves by our own standards.
“As a Test captain he is still a young man but he has led the side brilliantly.
“He’s a strong leader and he’s made some really good decisions in this series.
“I don’t think we’ve played our best cricket, but what we have done is been resilient and held ourselves well in pressure situations.
“Broad was outstanding at Durham. He showed real flair and competitiveness, nous and heart.
“They are great qualities that reside in some of these very fine players.”
With the series wrapped up, it has been suggested England may take the opportunity to rotate their squad for the final match, with Surrey seamer Chris Tremlett in contention for an appearance at his home ground.
Either way, Flower is sure there won’t be wholesale changes.
“We’ll meet over the next couple of days and talk about a side for the fifth Test, but I can’t see us changing much,” he said.
“We’re still representing our country, it’s still an Ashes Test and we’re still determined to win it.”
ASHES HERO: Coach Andy Flower insists Alastair Cook has been the difference
between the teams
SUPER STU: Broad battered the Aussies at