Andy Flower has broken his silence on English cricket by launching a passionate defense of Alastair Cook, the under-fire Test and one-day captain. The 29-year-old has struggled to contribute regular runs at the top of the order for some time, while his captaincy has been heavily criticized in certain quarters, particularly after England followed a 5-0 Ashes humbling at the hands of Australia with series defeats to Sri Lanka in all three formats of the game.

In his first major interview since his resignation in January as England’s team director, Flower backed Cook. Cook, has seen his batting form deteriorate, and the opener has gone 24 innings without a Test century, though Flower said to the British Newspaper Sunday Telegraph regarding Cook’s form that “He’s an outstanding cricketer. The public should be proud of having him as one of our own, leading the Test side.” He gave complements and his words were such that “It seems to be forgotten, and people should not forget, that this is a young man, a 29-year-old man, who has done some extraordinary things for his country.”

Cook is the fifth highest England Test run-scorer, with 8,125 runs, and has made 25 centuries in 104 matches since his debut in India in 2006.He replaced Andrew Strauss as Test captain after England’s 2-0 defeat by South Africa in 2012 and led them to their first series victory in India for 27 years. That is the main reason that forced Flower to say “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.”

 

Cook’s captaincy has been heavily criticized in recent times, and before the second Test with Sri Lanka at Headingley he called for an end to “personal” attacks on his style of leadership. Flower put his faith on him and added that England should draw inspiration from their successful campaign under Cook’s leadership against India and Australia at home in the past.

 

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 is an outstanding cricketer and the English public, should be proud of having Alastair Cook as one of their own. They should not be duped into thinking otherwise by those that have the platform to shout loudest, said Flower adding that England fans to back him as the captain and give him the time and space he needs to learn from his blunders.