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Alastair Cook keeps hold of England captaincy for now

Updated: Tuesday, 22 Jul 2014 17:41 | Comments

Alastair Cook is under pressure after seven losses in the last nine Tests
Alastair Cook is under pressure after seven losses in the last nine Tests

Alastair Cook will remain as England captain with Jos Buttler in line for his Test debut after being picked in a 13-man squad for the third match of the Investec series against India in Southampton.

England included wicketkeeper Buttler, in place of the injured Matt Prior, when they named their squad on Tuesday afternoon.

The announcement also confirmed England's intention to stick with captain Cook, who has been badly out of form and has led his team to seven defeats in their last nine Tests.

Cook's role has been called into question by many observers, who cite not just England's miserable sequence of results - extended when they went 1-0 down to India with a 95-run defeat at Lord's on Monday - but also the captain's loss of all form with the bat at the top of the order.

Cook, England's most prolific centurion, has not made a Test hundred in 27 innings and has mustered only 129 runs in nine innings this year.

Buttler's promotion, after 69 limited-overs caps, was the obvious response to Prior's decision after the second Test to rule himself out of Test cricket for the remainder of the summer - during which he is likely to have surgery on his Achilles.

National selector James Whitaker congratulated 23-year-old Buttler on his inclusion, and called for an improvement from England to battle back in the five-match series at the Ageas Bowl on Sunday.

"The result of the second Investec Test at Lord's was very disappointing," he said.

"One or two of our players had encouraging performances.

"However, it is vital the squad learns quickly and arrives in Southampton this week refreshed and ready to perform well in what will no doubt be another tough Test match."

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