Alastair Cook has to be 150 per cent certain he wants to carry on as England captain if he decides to continue after this series.

He has to sit down and ask himself is he the man to energise this England side for seven Test matches in the summer and win the Ashes down under or has he taken it as far as he can? If he feels he is the man to lead them next year then he needs to bring together that core group of players who appear in all formats and ask them to drive the team in a different direction.

Cook will know now if he is going to carry on or quit. He has been through two or three difficult periods before and there is only so much he can take. The one thing I regretted in my career was not playing for two years as a non-captain. I would have loved to have had two years enjoying the game and realising cricket is a great sport to play.

When you are captain, and the team is losing, you do not enjoy the game. It drags you down. You wake up in the morning not really wanting to go out and play. Cook somehow has to rediscover that zest and energy to play the game. I think the team need his power and runs at the top of the order more than his leadership.

Nobody can accuse him of not giving everything. But to pick up a Test team that is on a losing streak to take on South Africa and the West Indies next summer, and then to Australia, he has to be absolutely committed to being captain.

He can’t have any inkling he wants to go. He can’t suddenly lose the first Test against South Africa in July and think ‘oh no what have I done? Why have I carried on?’

Will the England team play any better or worse if he goes? I can’t see how they can play worse. It is not just this defeat. They have been playing like this for a while.

Cook cannot have enjoyed his cricket this year. It has been an incredibly tough year for the Test team. I wrote a few weeks ago this team needs to go in a different direction with a new group of senior players driving them forward. I have seen nothing since then to change my mind.

The same intensity and positive approach that Trevor Bayliss has instilled in the one-day team has to be put into the England Test team quickly because it is going down hill fast.

At the moment I am worried a lot of our eggs are going into the one-day basket. We are not a good enough team to focus on just one or the other. We have to keep our eye very closely on all formats of the game because if we let one of them drift we will be found out, like we have in Test cricket this year.

Nobody expected England to win this series in India. But a common theme has developed and needs to be acted on quickly. They have a mental softness about them.

Mental toughness is doing things you don’t enjoy or want to do. Mental toughness is sometimes playing the way the game dictates even if it is against your natural instincts. Mental toughness is fighting through tiring times, and staying the distance and keeping performance levels up to the end of the fifth day of the last Test of a series.

In seven of their last eight series England have lost the last match. There needs to be some honesty about why it is happening. I will always encourage players to be attacking and take the game to the opposition. But when you reach the last day of the series and have two sessions to bat out with ten wickets in hand, the mentally tough thing to do is play the situation and game in front of you. Just see out the Test. It is too soft to give England the excuse they had played seven Tests in 10 weeks.

Too many people are making excuses for this team. There is not enough blatant honesty. This Test team is not playing well enough and that has been the case for a while. Over the last two years they have lost 14 times.

In India they consistently collapsed or produced soft dismissals, and the excuse was made that England do not have a world class spinner. It is nothing to do with not having a world class spinner if you can’t bat out the last two sessions of the day with 10 wickets in hand.

Look at the way Umesh Yadav and Ishant Sharma bowled. They bowled quicker than England. That is nothing to do with not having a world class spinner. The fact England do not have a a world class spinner was not why they lacked fight and energy in the field. In fact the fielding was poor in both teams.

Tactically England went on the defensive too soon. Go back to the last day at Rajkot when they batted slowly instead of trying to set a target, or the first night in Vizag when they did not attack enough with the second new ball, or the last innings in that match when they blocked and blocked. Those mistakes were nothing to do with the lack of a world class spinner.

Yes England need a quality spinner if they want to be No 1 in the world. That is not my point. My point is that too many excuses are made for this team because they are a good set of lads, great with the media and the captain is a lovely bloke.

The coach, Trevor Bayliss, left the tour early to go home and have a hernia operation and nobody said a word. Imagine an England football coach going home before the last game to have a hernia op. There would be uproar. But because it is a nice culture around the England team nobody says anything about it. It just seems to be a very friendly, comfortable environment.

In England we spend vast amounts of money on development. There are Lions programmes, talent pathways, under 19s teams, backroom coaches, analysts, 18 counties with indoor schools so the players can train all winter. The list is endless. But if we are being open and honest enough, we are not producing a mentally tough enough cricket team despite all that is at our disposal.

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