Ashes 2013-14: Alastair Cook understands scrutiny over his role as England captain after MCG loss
Last Updated: 29/12/13 9:00pm
Alastair Cook says he has no plans to quit the England captaincy but accepts his position will come under scrutiny after a disastrous Ashes tour.
Cook's side are 4-0 down in the Test series after suffering an eight-wicket defeat at the MCG and another loss in Sydney would condemn them to a humiliating whitewash.
In Melbourne England looked to be in a good position to salvage some pride but threw the match away with a dramatic second-innings collapse.
The result left Cook facing some more blunt questions from the press, one of which hinted that his leadership may be a reason behind the capitulation.
"Yes. It's something you do look at as captain and leader of the group," Cook said.
"(But) I feel as if we are doing the right things. If I didn't think we were doing the right things, we'd have changed the way we are approaching things - training and all that.
"I think we're preparing in the right way, but just not delivering it out there - or Australia aren't allowing us to."
Cook insists he is still enjoying the role despite overseeing a campaign which has so far resulted in four heavy defeats and saw England hand back the Ashes with two Tests remaining in the series.
But the 29-year-old also acknowledges that he is ultimately responsible for the under-performance of the side.
"In a strange way, I'm enjoying the job and I'm enjoying the challenge," he added.
"I'm totally responsible as captain for the team - and if, at the end of the series, the selectors decide I'm not the best man for the job then so be it. It would hurt, and I've got no plans of going anywhere."
If his position as captain is going to come under review then a consolation victory at the SCG would boost his chances of remaining at the helm.
Cook said: "I'm desperately trying to use as much of my experience of playing 100 Tests to help turn this team around.
"I know that it starts with a lot of hard work and it starts with a performance or two that we jump on the back of. But if someone says there's a better man for the job, then I have to take that on the chin."
Ian Botham is insistent changes are needed ahead of Sydney.
"We've had four games and we're 4-0 down," Botham told Sky Sports. "We haven't been beaten, we've been hammered in every single game. Nothing has been close - it has not even been close to being close.
"So change has to happen - you have to do something. I'm not saying change the whole team but if a football manager lost four games like that being hammered, he wouldn't even have a job.
"The one I think should have played - and he should have played in Perth, is Boyd Rankin. England have brought the big lad along, they wanted him for the extra bounce. Perth is where it was going to bounce and it did a bit here early on too.
"I don't see the point in bringing these guys and saying 'we're going to take three tall, quick bowlers and give it a go' and then not play them.
"They discovered that Chris Tremlett's pace was down in the first game and apparently Steven Finn is having all kinds of problems with confidence, so Rankin is the man there. He's strong, he's big and he bowls as quick as Tremlett and Finn, why don't we give him a go?"
Before the series Botham confidently predicted that England would win the series 5-0 but the tourists have suffered a string of embarrassing collapses to make a mockery of the prediction.
"It's just not good enough - it really isn't," said Botham. "A lot of the batsmen come out and look as if they are scared to play a shot; they scratch around, they dig holes for themselves, they go nowhere and they allow the Australian bowlers to keep plugging away. No pressure is put on the Australian bowlers.
"Nathan Lyon took 5-50 on a wicket that hasn't turned. You've got to be kidding me! He bowled alright and he's done well but it's not a 5-50 wicket.
"England have no ideas - there's nothing positive. Only one or two players are standing up. They almost seem scared of their own shadows. They are timid. Why? Where has this come from? Where is this coming from?
"You've got to go out and play, be positive and believe in your own ability and go out there and play your natural game."