ENGLAND coach England coach Trevor Bayliss remains in the dark about the future of Test captain Alastair Cook, but is prepared for whatever decision the batsman makes.
And he has revealed that Yorkshire’s Joe Root, an overwhelming favourite to step in should Cook stand down, would not be the sole candidate.
It is more than five weeks since a visibly drawn Cook suggested the 4-0 defeat in India would force him to consider his position as captain.
But there has been no news during the limited-overs leg of the trip, which ended on Wednesday with a humiliating collapse in the Twenty20 decider.
Cook did meet with Andrew Strauss, his former opening partner and now managing director of the England and Wales Cricket Board, in January, but even Bayliss does not know the details of that post-series debrief.
“I’ll be as interested as anyone else in the decision that he makes,” said the Australian.
“I’ve had my thoughts on white-ball cricket. I haven’t spoken to Cookie since he left India.
“I haven’t even had any messages with him at all. I haven’t spoken to Straussy about his meeting or chatted with him either. He just said, ‘we’ll let you concentrate on what you’re doing out there’.
“I’ll wait for a couple of days after I get home and make a few phone calls and see what’s happened.”
Such a laid-back approach is typical of Bayliss, who makes a point of deferring to his captains wherever possible, and with no Test cricket until July there is no time pressure on Cook.
While Bayliss has no intention of pushing the 32-year-old towards the exit door, he is clearly prepared for every eventuality.
“I said to him when he left I’d be happy if he stays and I’d be happy if he wants to go from his point of view,” the coach added.
“From a captaincy point of view he’s the only one that will know if the time is right for him to go. I don’t know how he’s feeling on the inside and to be honest I haven’t spoken to him about that.”
Cook has held the reins for four years and a record 59 Tests, with vice-captain Root seemingly being groomed for leadership for some time during that period.
But Bayliss suggested the Yorkshireman was not in a field of one.
“I think you could throw a few of them in the mix and find they’ve got the respect of the rest of their team-mates,” he said.
“The thing is with this group of cricketers, they’re all very close, they’re good mates and they respect each other.”
England captain Eoin Morgan was left fumbling for explanations after his side lost eight wickets for eight runs to end their tour of India on the wrong end of a Twenty20 rout.
The tourists sank from 119-2 to 127 all out in the space of 19 deliveries, bringing the good old-fashioned English collapse fully up to date for the T20 generation.
“It hurts, it does. We weren’t good enough,” said a dismayed Morgan as he picked over the wreckage of the 75-run defeat.
“I can’t put my finger on it it... we haven’t produced a batting performance as bad as that in two, two and a half years.”