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Cricket: No decision on Cook

Alastair Cook is not guaranteed to be England’s captain for the World Cup, says ECB managing director Paul Downton.

Cook has scored just 87 runs from five innings as England slipped to a series defeat in Sri Lanka, with one ODI left to play.

And although Downton says replacing him before the World Cup would be a gamble, he has not ruled out making a change.

“To change (the captain) now, two months away from a World Cup, you actually take more risks in my view,” said Downton.

“Alastair Cook is our captain but we haven’t appointed him captain for the World Cup. That decision will be announced on Saturday morning.”

Downton said support for Cook thus far has been based on a number of factors, discussed in a meeting between the selectors back in September.

“We had a really big discussion after the India series, spending the best part of a week challenging each other, looking at a variety of other options,” he said.

“The facts though are these. Alastair has been captain for three and a half years and, during that time, he’s had success.

“In fact, the one time he had his full strength side available, we reached the Champions Trophy final – and should have won it.

“And it’s a World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, where he’s scored runs before.”

Despite this, Cook’s place in the side has been strongly questioned as he is averaging just 27.27 in his 19 ODIs in 2014 and has not scored a century since doing so against West Indies at The Oval in 2012.

But Downton has been encouraged by what he has seen from the team as a whole during the series in Sri Lanka.

“We’ve made some real strides,” he said. “We’ve run Sri Lanka close in four of the six games, putting them under pressure.

“It has taken (Kumar) Sangakkara playing some world class innings to beat us. And the way we have played spin has been a revelation.

“Of course it’s really uncomfortable with Cooky at the moment because he’s not scoring runs.

“But one day can change everything. He might go out and get a hundred in the last ODI in Colombo.”

Watch the seventh and final ODI between Sri Lanka and England, on Sky Sports 2 from 8.30am on Tuesday.

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