Cook to miss West Indies tour

Hampshire Chronicle: Alastair Cook will not be travelling to West Indies (AP) Alastair Cook will not be travelling to West Indies (AP)

England captain Alistair Cook has confirmed he will not lead the side during the three one-day matches in the West Indies in February and March.

Cook has opted to miss the tour, which also includes three Twenty20 fixtures, as England look towards the World Twenty20 in Bangladesh in March and April.

Cook oversaw a 4-1 series defeat to Australia after losing the final game on Sunday by five runs in Adelaide. That followed an Ashes whitewash, and after the third one-day loss in Sydney Cook appeared to be considering his future as skipper in both formats.

He has since said he is "desperate" to stay on, but said for tactical reasons he would be giving the Caribbean tour a miss in order for 20-over captain Stuart Broad and limited-overs coach Ashley Giles to hone their preparations for the Bangladesh tournament.

Asked if he would be captain against the West Indies, Cook told Sky Sports: "No I won't be. The Twenty20 guys have got their World Cup in Bangladesh and I think we see it as a great six weeks for them to start building the team.

"They're never together very often and it gives them, and Broady and 'Gilo' time, to really have six weeks together to build for Bangladesh."

Asked when he would meet team director Andy Flower and new England managing director Paul Downton to discuss his future, Cook added: "I fly home on Monday, and when I get home over the next week or so I'm sure there will be meetings to have.

"It has been a challenging tour for me. I can't not say that.

"It's been a real tough tour for me. I am not exhausted, but I'm ready to put the pads away for a couple of weeks or so.

"I will enjoy seeing my pregnant wife. I'll enjoy seeing a few sheep (on the family farm) for a bit."

Cook revealed any meeting with Flower, when the future of players such as Kevin Pietersen are also set to be on the agenda, would take place in the coming weeks.

"I'll just have a little bit of time off and then we'll start making plans," he said.

"It's quite hard to say here when I'm 15,000 miles away and jet lag to come.

"I've been speaking to Andy, like you do, and over the next week or so I'll meet up with him personally and we'll plan our route forward."

Despite Cook's absence from the West Indies tour his future would still appear to remain as captain of the ODI team, despite his own self-doubt a week ago.

The left-hander revealed his desperation to stay on before England's only win over Australia on tour, in Perth on Friday, and has been publicly backed by his peers to stay on.

Giles added his voice to those in Cook's corner, adding: "Absolutely. We are standing here and we realistically could have won the series.

"We could have won it 3-2. That's not all down to the captain."

On the West Indies tour, Giles added: "The plan is we are playing three one-day games there but with the T20 World Cup we are probably going to pick a T20 squad which gives us a good preparation time running into Bangladesh. It's likely that Stuart Broad will captain that side."

Cook plans to use the time away to fine-tune the problems that have surfaced over the course of the Australia tour - his last half-century was during the Boxing Day Test.

"You know that hunger comes back quickly," he said.

"I've got a couple of months off here where I can do some really solid work on my game."

Australia captain Michael Clarke suspected that Cook and his England team-mates were ready to go home, but shied away from suggesting they would be permanently scarred by their winter defeats.

"I don't know the answer to that question," he said.

"There will be a few English players keen to get on that plane tomorrow that's for sure - and keen to get away and spend some time away from the game.

"I know what it feels like to lose a series as a captain.

"It's certainly tough and you take it to heart and you take it quite personally. I'm sure Cooky will be looking forward to getting home and having a break.

"They're a good team and he's a good player.

"I've no doubt that the next time we come up against England they will be as tough as always.

"That's the one thing I do know. They're always tough in any form of the game. If you take them lightly they'll run over you."

Victory moved Clarke's team back to the top of the one-day rankings - on Australia Day - and the captain believes that was just reward after snatching victory away.

"That's as satisfying a win as we've had recently as a one-day unit," he said.

"Winning tonight shows the confidence we have. We still have a few players out resting. We believe we can win no matter what position we are in.

"We haven't played our best cricket but we've found ways to win."

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