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Flower backs Cook as skipper

Alastair Cook deserves to stay on as England captain despite the team's recent slump in form, according to former head coach Andy Flower.

But after a bright start to his tenure with a series victory in India and Ashes success at home to Australia, England's results have taken a turn for the worse under Cook's leadership, while his batting form has also been on the slide.

The 29-year-old Cook led England to an Ashes whitewash in Australia over the winter, and the new era under head coach Peter Moores got off to a sticky start with a home series defeat by Sri Lanka.

Flower appointed Cook as skipper of the Test side after Andrew Strauss stepped down from the role in 2012.

Australia legend Shane Warne has called for Cook to stand down as captain, while England great Geoffrey Boycott said the player's struggles with the bat, coupled with the team's lack of form, "was a recipe for resignation".

"It seems to be forgotten that this is a young man who has done some extraordinary things for himself and for his country," Flower told The Sunday Telegraph.

"He has scored the most Test centuries for his country - that in itself is an amazing achievement, and he's got so much more left to give.

"He's got the most one-day wins of any England captain. He's led the side to an astounding Test victory in India. He has led the England side to a 3-0 Test victory against Australia."

Cook has gone 24 Test innings without a century, while his captaincy has come in for critcism for being too conservative.

"He is an outstanding cricketer and we, the English public, should be proud of having Alastair Cook as one of our own," he said.

"They should not be duped into thinking otherwise by those that have the platform to shout loudest.

"He would still acknowledge he is learning all the time. But who of us isn't learning? I know I've learnt a hell of a lot in the last couple of years and I'm 46.

"Who are the ignorant ones? Is it a guy like Alastair or is it the people who keep making the same mistakes over and over again in their lives?"

Watch England take on India in the first Test at Trent Bridge - coverage starts on Wednesday at 10am on Sky Sports 2 HD.