Cook, Flower look safe but Gooch says rebuilding likely

Reuters
England's captain Alastair Cook reacts as he walks off after being dismissed for seven runs during the second day of the fifth Ashes cricket test against Australia at the Sydney cricket ground January 4, 2014. REUTERS/David Gray
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England's captain Alastair Cook reacts as he walks off after being dismissed for seven runs during …

By Nick Mulvenney

SYDNEY (Reuters) - England coach Andy Flower and captain Alastair Cook appear likely to retain their jobs despite the disastrous Ashes tour of Australia but batting coach Graham Gooch believes some sort of rebuilding process is inevitable.

Flower, whose contract is up at the end of the tour, and Cook received the backing of England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) chief David Collier to retain their roles despite another miserable day which made a 5-0 series defeat highly likely.

"We need that experience," Collier told Sky TV.

"When you got through a transitional period you need somebody with knowledge, somebody who knows our system, somebody who works with all of our key coaches. Andy has all of those attributes and more.

"Alastair fully deserves our support," he added. "People do grow into the job. Captains mature, players mature. We were convinced he was the right man at the time and we're still convinced today.

"We look forward to both Alastair and Andy leading us to success in the future."

After their top order failed once again, England were bowled out for 155 on Saturday and ended up trailing Australia by an imposing 311 runs at the close of day two in the fifth and final test.

That followed humiliating defeats in the first four tests of the series and Gooch admitted the tourists had simply not played well enough to compete.

"Everyone has to look at themselves," he told reporters at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

"That's the coaches, the players, they're all going to be under scrutiny, quite rightly, and we all have to take it on the chin and we have to take the criticism.

"If you play the way we've played the brutal truth is it's not good enough.

"We have to look at ways to move forward and we have to look to ways to improve even that might entail taking some more pain before that gets better.

"There will be a rebuilding process, I think that's fair to say. I don't make those decisions, but as some of you know I have been here before many times and that will be a process I'm sure will start at some stage."

UNACCEPTABLE BATTING

Gooch said he expected every member of the touring party to want a chance to put things right, though.

"Everyone on this tour would not like to leave under the circumstances of this tour and the debris of this tour," Gooch said.

"Four-nil down and behind the eight-ball in the fifth game is not way you want to leave and everyone will be trying to put things right and move English cricket forward."

As for his own area of responsibility, Gooch said the standard of batting had clearly been unacceptable.

"Our players have not met the challenge with the bat obviously," he said.

"We've not competed how as we'd like to and we haven't shown the skills that have been necessary.

"We've given too many wickets away and had too many easy dismissals. We've only had one hundred in four and a bit tests and that's not going to win you anything. It's been pretty disappointing."

Gooch paid tribute to the role Australia's pace unit of Mitchell Johnson, Peter Siddle and Ryan Harris had played in shackling proven test batsmen like Cook, Ian Bell and Kevin Pietersen.

"There are three immediate reasons why they have struggled and that is Harris, Johnson and Siddle have all bowled pretty well... so Australia have been on their game and you have to give them credit," he said.

"(But) you still expect players of that calibre with that record behind them to score that proportion of runs.

"We will all have to look at ourselves, they will have to look at themselves and how they can improve and we have to look at the messages and insights we give them."

(Editing by John O'Brien)

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