Bairstow backs Cook to stay on as captain


England wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow insists the players want Alastair Cook to stay on as Test captain.

Cook, 31, is under increasing pressure to step down as skipper after his team suffered a 4-0 series loss in India.

But Bairstow backed the England skipper and said the players felt the left-handed opener was the man to lead them forward.

"There's been a lot of talk about Alastair Cook's future, but for me he's our captain and deserves to stay in the job," he wrote in the Daily Mail.

"In 2016 he passed 10,000 and 11,000 Test runs - that's legendary stuff in English batting. He's our leader and we want him to stay."

England played 17 Tests in 2016, winning six, drawing three and losing eight - including four in India.

However, Bairstow hopes the year can be remembered as a positive one despite the poor finish.

"I really hope people don't judge 2016 on a 4-0 defeat in India, though I appreciate there'll be a lot of disappointment," he wrote.

"But if you take a step back for a moment, you'll realise we played five Test series during the course of the year, winning two, drawing two and losing only one. The bigger picture tells you that's not too bad.

"We won in South Africa, who were number one at the time, then we drew with Pakistan, who were about to go top of the Test rankings themselves. Then we travelled to India, who - guess what? - were number one too.

"There was also a trip to Bangladesh, who aren't easy to beat at home: look at their one-day record. They'd won six 50-over series in a row there before we arrived. So a drawn Test series was no disgrace.

"My point is we've had some pretty tough series to contend with. Yes, losing eight Tests in a year doesn't look good. But I don't believe it tells the whole story."