- The Ashes
Cook commits to England captaincy
Alastair Cook insisted he was "100% wanting to carry on" as England captain but was obliged to defend his senior players, the side's coaches and his own position in the aftermath of defeat in Melbourne.
The England captain, leading a side that is 4-0 down and in danger of succumbing to a whitewash, has failed to score a century in nine Tests against Australia over the last six months and has seemed unable to inspire his team to lift their performances in the current series.
But Cook, who led England to victory in India and Ashes success in England in his first 12 months in the job, claimed his appetite for the job was as strong as ever and reiterated his faith in the side's senior players and coaching staff.
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- It is a simply a question of 'when' not 'if' now. England's defeat in Melbourne - and the manner of it - has rendered Andy Flower's position as coach all-but untenable, writes ESPNcricinfo's senior correspondent George Dobell.
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"I'm 100% wanting to carry on," Cook said. "I'm enjoying the job and I'm enjoying the challenge. I've got no plans of going anywhere. I'm desperately trying to use as much as my experience of playing 100 Tests to help turn this team around.
"If, at the end of the series the selectors decide I'm not the best man for the job then so be it. If someone makes that decision, and says 'we think there's a better man' or 'you're not good enough to do it' then it would hurt but, I would have to take that on the chin.
"We've some very good players in our dressing room. We've some record-breaking players who will have some fantastic days left in an England shirt. I know that for sure. And we'll be praising them when they do that.
"I'm fully supportive of our coaching staff. We've had some fantastic results. It wasn't so long ago we won in India with this same coaching staff, against Australia with the same coaching staff."
"They're decisions which can be made later and down the line. That's why people higher up than me are paid money to make those decisions. If they think that's the way to go - with all those decisions, captain, coach, whatever - then that's the way it is.
"We can only concentrate on what we do from now, trying to regroup and put in a performance in Sydney."
While accepting that back-to-back Ashes series had proved quite a burden for the players, Cook dismissed the notion that it could excuse their poor performances.
"I think 10 back-to-back Test matches is a big ask," he said. "But the bottom line is it's the same for both sides and one side has handled it a lot better than the other side. They are playing some better cricket now than we are. To use that as an excuse would be wrong.
"When we left England, we had high hopes of doing something very special. I did say at the time, we'd have to play some very good cricket if we wanted to achieve that and we haven't done that. The bottom line is we haven't been good enough."
George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo