Bopara backs Cook captaincy

Blackpool Citizen: Ravi Bopara, left, insists Alastair Cook, centre, is the right man to lead England Ravi Bopara, left, insists Alastair Cook, centre, is the right man to lead England

Ravi Bopara has offered a glowing endorsement of Alastair Cook's capabilities as England captain and is certain he has the full backing of his team-mates.

Cook hinted that his time in charge could be close to an end in the immediate aftermath of Sunday's heavy seven-wicket defeat to Australia in Sydney.

The loss conceded the one-day international series and, after the Ashes whitewash, left Cook without a win over Australia since arriving down under.

The 29-year-old skipper is set to make a decision on whether to go on as captain - in both the Test and ODI formats - after he leaves the tour at the end of the ODI series early next week.

Bopara admitted he was shocked to hear Cook's words after the game, but remains certain his Essex team-mate remains the best man for the job.

"I think naturally Alastair would be down. We've lost three games out of three and that's a natural reaction straight after the game," Bopara said.

"I am surprised (by his comments). I think he's the right man for it.

"I would love for him to carry on in both formats.

"I do believe that your best player should be your captain and I still believe that he is our best player.

"Batting at the top of the order he's the type of guy that will go out and score hundreds for England.

"One hundred per cent the other players see it the same way."

Bopara began his cricket education alongside Cook as teenagers at Essex and spoke with him after Sunday's loss.

The 28-year-old concedes his old friend had lost some confidence, but believe the experience will make him stronger.

"He may have lost self belief, a little bit, but speaking to him yesterday I strongly got the impression that he's the right man for the job," he said.

"It's just a tough time. He's the sort of guy who will turn it around.

"I think this is good for him and he will come out a much better person.

Cook's captaincy record before heading down under was impressive after he led England to a rare Test series success in India immediately after taking over the leadership 15 months ago.

An Ashes win followed in the summer, while in the 50-over format England went within a whisker of winning the Champions Trophy in June.

Bopara believes Cook's own personal record is also untouched - he has played 102 Tests and is the youngest batsman to reach 8,000 runs - and that the left-hander would grow from his troubled winter.

"Let's just remember he is one of our most experienced players. He's got a lot of experience, he knows what he's doing," he said.

"One of his strengths is he has a very good record as a captain.

"Previous to this Ashes tour he has a very good record. I don't believe everything should be blamed on the captain, even though everything gets put on the captain.

"It's not just about Alastair it's about the rest of the team as well.

"We want to win because we're here to win. We don't just want to win to make someone feel better. We want to win because that's what we're paid to do."

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