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Must stay true to myself: Cook

Southampton: With England unable to pull themselves out of the doldrums, captain Alastair Cook is facing the music. With India emerging victorious at Lord’s, in the second Test of the ongoing five-match series, there have been clamours that Cook should step down as captain.

The 29-year-old has, however, taken criticism in his stride and is trying to raise his game by several notches. He knows, better than anyone else, that he has to deliver, and soon.

“It was a tough Test match at Lord’s. A couple of days away have been quite nice,” he said, here on Saturday.

Cook admitted that losing at Lord’s made it a tough week, but added that the team should be judged only after the five-Test series is over.

“The last week has been a hard one in that we’ve lost a game. But with a five-Test series, you’ve got a chance to bounce back — and you get judged at the end of the series,” he said.

Asked whether the constant criticism has forced him to think of resigning from captaincy, he said: “No, I haven’t. As I keep saying in every press conference, I’m desperate to carry on — because I love being England captain. It’s a huge honour.”

Asked what he though of Kevin Pietersen saying that he should step down, he said: “The last three or four weeks, everyone’s been saying that… I must stay true to myself… It would be great if I could get through this as a person, as a player, as a leader...

“I said when I first took over ‘I just want to throw everything into it’. Until that time comes when I feel I can’t carry on doing it… I’m going to keep at it.”

Cook is confident of the backing of his teammates. “Every guy I’ve spoken to has (backed me). So unless they are lying to my face, then yes, I have their backing,” he said.

Asked whether the burden of captaincy was affecting his batting he said: “At the beginning, when it was going really well, everyone said it was helping my batting. Now that it’s not going so well, everyone is saying it’s affecting it… I don’t know.

He added: “The frustrating thing has been that we’ve been getting ourselves into situations, especially in the four Tests, where we were ahead of the game by quite a long way and haven’t been able to force that result.

“We must be doing a lot of things really well. But at the crucial sessions, when we need to stamp our authority to get that win, we haven’t managed to take (that chance). “It’s bubbling under, but the longer it goes without a win it becomes harder and harder.”

Cook is frustrated with the fact that runs are not coming from his bat. He said: “History suggests when I score runs England get a really good chance of winning. That is exciting – I love that. There is nothing worse when you don’t score runs than walking back and feeling you have let the other 10 guys down, because that is your job as an opening batter… I haven’t been doing that and that is frustrating.”