sport

Stewart: Cook needs runs

Former England captain Alec Stewart says present incumbent Alastair Cook needs to find some form with the bat to end criticism directed at him.

Cook's position as skipper is coming under mounting scrutiny following the first-ever Test series loss to Sri Lanka on home soil.

Former England player Kevin Pietersen is the latest to offer his opinion, believing there is an within the England team.

While Stewart says people are entitled to their opinions, he believes all this speculation will end if Cook - who has failed to score a century in his last 24 Test innings - can get runs and England start to win again.

He told Sky Sports: \"When I used to get criticised, I actually used to read it because I used to try and prove people wrong, try and be thick-skinned, take it on board.

\"I was aware that a lot of people that write things, their knowledge is limited and if it came from a former player, yes you may take a little bit more notice of it.

\"But you'd still take more notice of the dressing-room, the players that you're playing with and the coaches who are coaching or the managers that are managing.\"

Asked if he saw any signs of a disjointed dressing-room where senior players were unhappy, Stewart replied: \"When you haven't won - and they haven't won now, what for eight Test matches I think - it's not going to be the happiest place in the world.

\"And that's any dressing-room - not just the England dressing-room, not just under Alastair Cook - that's any dressing-room in any sport.

\"You want to win and when you win that breeds confidence and that brings better team togetherness.

\"When you're losing, you'll work hard and all those things, but there won't be quite as many smiles on people's faces.

\"So I don't think it'll be disjointed in any shape or form. Again, it's an outsider looking in.

\"But I can tell what - if Alastair Cook scores runs and England get a win, all this chat will stop. But until that happens, people continue to offer opinions.\"