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Boycott: Alastair’s brain is scrambled

Geoffrey Boycott

Perth: Geoffrey Boycott on Wednesday blasted captain Alastair Cook’s “scrambled brain” and said the team needed to use more common sense to prevent yet another defeat to Australia.

Boycott has been shocked by England’s lacklustre efforts during the Ashes tour and laid some of the blame at Cook’s feet, saying he appeared frustrated and worn down by the Australian attack.

“Australia have worked Alastair out,” Boycott said in a column for an Australian newspaper. “They give him nothing to score off his legs or hip and they are winning the battle.”

The plain-speaking Boycott could barely contain his anger at Cook’s second-innings dismissal in Adelaide for one, when he needed to get a big score.

“Here was our captain, who is supposed to set the tone, hooking Mitchell Johnson down fine leg’s throat in the second over of the day, which shows his brain is scrambled,” he said. “We have some serious problems,” Boycott added.

He pointed out that half of England’s dismissals during the Ashes had come from bad shots, with their second-innings 312 at Adelaide the first time they have passed 200 in the series. “What they have to work out is how they are going to get some pride back in the team,” the former opening batsman said.

“They cannot do that unless they bat with more common sense and stop gifting wickets away.”

Cook’s game is in tatters, Boycott said.

Cook dominated Australia’s bowlers on England’s previous Ashes tour three years ago and averaged 127.66. However after two Tests this summer, his tally of 82 at 20.50 reflects his team’s batting struggles.

With England trailing 0-2, there appears little respite in store in the third Test to be played on a fast, bouncy Waca pitch expected to suit the Aussie pace attack.

The tourists have been bowled out for under 200 in three of their four innings, with a top score of 312 chasing 531 for victory in Adelaide on Monday.

Boycott says England have no chance of retaining the Ashes and Cook is the team’s biggest worry.

“What they have to work out is how they are going to get some pride back in the team,” Boycott said. “They cannot do that unless they bat with more common sense and stop gifting wickets away.”

Boycott said Cook appeared frustrated and worn down. Australia’s bowlers had dried up his scoring zones.

Boycott said half of England’s dismissals had come from bad shots and he took aim at Kevin Pietersen for chipping catches to mid-wicket three times despite an obvious plan to claim him there.

As Cook pointed out in his post-match Press conference in Adelaide on Monday, Pietersen showed more restraint in his second-innings 53.

However Boycott added: “We cannot seem to find a batsman who can bat properly in every innings and not give their wicket away.”