English captain Alastair Cook takes criticism in his stride
England captain Alastair Cook said yesterday he is happy to face continued criticism over his leadership style so long as his side keep winning.
Under Cook's leadership, England head into this week's final Ashes test at The Oval having already retained the urn and taken the series at 3-0 up, with the chance to do what none of their predecessors have done before; win four tests against Australia during an English season.
Yet that hasn't stopped the barbs coming Cook's way, with the likes of Australia great Shane Warne deriding the opener's "way too cautious" captaincy during the fourth test in Durham, which England won by 74 runs after fast-medium bowler Stuart Broad sparked an Australian batting collapse.
"I'd much rather be in my position getting criticised for my captaincy and being 3-0, make no mistake about that," Cook said. "[Warne] might genuinely believe that. The beauty of cricket is, as we always know, there is a lot of different ways to skin the cat."
Warne, now working as a media pundit, is a friend of Australia captain Michael Clarke and Cook said: "Clearly [Warne] plays a very significant part in Australian cricket, in their dressing room, make no mistake about that.
"We know he's working for [the media] so of course … he's got a place to talk to about it.
"It hasn't been the first time I've been criticised as a player or a captain and it certainly won't be the last."
Meanwhile, Clarke came to the defence of his embattled selectors, saying they weren't picking a side for a "charity tour" as the tourists looked to salvage a consolation win.
So far this Ashes, top-order batting has been Australia's greatest weakness with eight batsmen being tried in the first six spots of a team trying to fill the void left by the retirements of Ricky Ponting and Mike Hussey.
"I know there's been a lot of talk back home about consistency of selection but the selectors are trying to do everything in their power to help us win and if guys aren't performing, unfortunately you can't select them," Clarke.
"We're trying, or the selectors, I guess, are trying to be as consistent as they can but we're also here to win the game.
"This is not a charity tour. It's not about giving blokes a go and hoping for the best," said Clarke.