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Cook critics are a bit deluded, says Swann

ESPN staff
March 4, 2014 « Traore expected to stay at Everton following fitness boost | Chartbeat test »
Graeme Swann believes Alastair Cook will go on to break plenty more records © PA Photos
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Graeme Swann has issued his backing to England captain Alastair Cook and believes anyone who is questioning his role in the side is being "a bit deluded."

Cook has been under pressure following the tour that saw England whitewashed 5-0 in the Ashes and comfortably beaten in both the subsequent ODI and T20 series.

However Swann, who announced his retirement after Australia had taken an unassailable 3-0 lead in the Ashes series, believes the players should take the blame for the dismal tour Down Under and suggested it was "an impossible job" to captain them.

"Anyone who questions Alastair Cook's role again is being a bit deluded," Swann told BBC Sport. "Just like how it was with Andy [Flower], it was the players' fault that we lost that tour in the winter and it's the players' fault that Cooky's captaincy has started being questioned.

"No one could have captained that team during the winter, the way we were all playing. It was an impossible job. He is definitely the man to lead us forward and I'm convinced he will have a fantastic summer. He's such a good player - he's the best player we've got.

"His record proves that. He's such a young player with so many runs and so many hundreds and he'll go on to break more and more records, I'm sure of it."

Swann reserved similar praise for ex-head coach Andy Flower, who stepped down from his post during the aftermath of England's disastrous tour.

However, Flower will remain in England's coaching set-up after the ECB appointed him as technical director of elite coaching. Swann reiterated it was a good move and stated it is "brilliant" for England that Flower is still involved.

"I think it's vital that [Andy] he's still in the set up. It's easy to look at this winter and blame Andy for it," Swann said.

"He was the one who really instigated a lot of change and brought about a new team ethos and brought the team together, along with Andrew Strauss and latterly Alastair Cook.

"He built a team that had so much success over five years. He knows the game inside out. He knows the players and I think it's brilliant that he's still involved."

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