Alastair Cook is in trouble. The UK media has blasted the England captain for the team's poor showing against Sri Lanka. But team-mate Ian Bell is backing Cook and even saying that criticism won't force a resignation.
The British media has slammed Cook for his tactics against the Lankans. Ever since Cook and the establishment mooted a 'new' England and made sure charismatic cricketers like Kevin Pietersen had no place in the dressing room, the media has been critical.
Geoff Boycott, speaking in the BBC Test Match Special, said that the side's mental frame of mind was brittle and said the nightmare from Australia continued. "I don't know where this side can go. The captain is in terrible form. It's a recipe for resignation. I don't know if he will, but it is."
The Mirror's Dean Wilson was blunt in Cook's criticism and said that getting humbled in front of home fans is very shameful.
David Lloyd, writing in The Daily Mail said that England will be wondering how they got themselves into this mess. "They looked totally devoid of ideas, and it reminded me of last winter in Perth, when George Bailey slammed 28 off an over from Jimmy Anderson and Graeme Swann's last over in Test cricket went for 22.The early chirp and rattle had disappeared completely, and the body language suggested, 'just get us off here!'"
Bell has rejected hints that Cook is on the brink of stepping down as England captain. "There is absolutely no doubt that Cook will continue as captain. I don't think the tactics were wrong. I don't think he could have done anything more," said Bell.
"As a group, we've got to help him (Cook). We've got to get right behind him and start performing as a team. He's got more hundreds than anyone in an England shirt and he's been one of the best batsmen I've ever played with. Form is temporary. One innings and he'll be flying again. So I'm not worried about his batting at all."