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Athers: More dark times ahead

Michael Atherton has warned England fans there could be more dark times ahead and has doubts about Alstair Cook's future as captain following the humiliating 5-0 Ashes whitewash.

England and Cook have suffered a miserable tour - thrashed in every Test while Cook's leadership at key moments in the field has been questioned.

England often had Australia in trouble with five or six wickets down for less than 150, but failed to press home the advantage before the top-order repeatedly failed against the hosts' fine bowling attack.

And Atherton doubts England will recover as they did following the last whitewash in Australia in 2006/07.

"There was some good that came out of the 2006/07 whitewash," Atherton told Sky Sports News. "There was a realisation that things had to change and we saw a very successful period for England beyond that.

Organisation

"I'm slightly less confident at the moment because I'm not quite sure how many really good young players there are coming through and you are always at the behest of the numbers coming through in the county game.

"I can't see many young spin options, there are some good young fast bowlers I think, but there are a limited number of batsmen really knocking down the selectors' doors and saying 'pick me'.

"It depends on the quality of the players coming through and it may be that there are more tough times like we've seen over the last few months.

"But Alastair Cook and Andy Flower will realise that things have to change after this and an organisation that realises that and looks deep into itself can certainly have a positive effect.

"I'm convinced Flower is the right man. He's been an outstanding coach of the England cricket team and I can't see any reason why a defeat like this wouldn't make him a better coach.

"Cook I am less 100 per cent sure about, but I can't see an alternative to him at the moment, although that's not a great reason to stay in the job.

"You think 'if not Alastair Cook then who?' I would stick with Cook but I'm not as sure as I am about Flower."