sport

Stewart backs Cook as captain

Former England skipper Alec Stewart believes Alastair Cook should remain as captain but insists the top order batsman needs to find some runs quickly.

Cook, 29, has fallen under increasing pressure after his side went 1-0 down in the on-going Test series with a first loss to India at Lord's in 28 years.

Sky Sports pundits Sir Ian Botham and Nasser Hussain believe Cook should relinquish the captaincy for the good of himself and the team, but Stewart doesn't agree.

\"I think he is right man to take the team forward,\" the 51-year-old Surrey coach told Sky Sports News.

\"He is very much the captain and therefore it is very much Cook's team. It's tough and he's got to dig deep.

\"It's been a long time since a win and even in this new era they have failed to beat Sri Lanka and gone behind against India.

\"But let's not forget he is a tremendous player and I want to see him stay in the side, at the top of the order. He is a strong character but Cook has got to score runs sooner rather than later.\"

Cook, who has more Test hundreds than any other England cricketer ever, has failed to score a century in 27 innings, and in the on-going series has a record of 5, 6, 10 and 22.

Ahead of the third Test at Old Trafford, there have been consistent calls for the Essex player to stand down in order to recapture his match-winning form.

But Stewart said: \"It's down to the ECB and Alastair. I wouldn't have been against him stepping down, not because I don't want him as captain but because he's not scoring runs.

Maybe it would help his batting at the top of the order. Scoring runs helps Cook and the team as well.

\"They may review it at the end of the series.\"England's Third Test against India starts is live from 10am on Sky Sports 2HD on Sunday.