By Rob Barnett
Alastair Cook revealed in the aftermath of England’s Australia Day defeat that he is to miss the three one-day internationals with West Indies.
Cook’s side lost a tense, low-scoring game by five runs at Adelaide today to concede a 4-1 scoreline in the one-day series against Australia.
The tourists now turn their attention to three Twenty20 internationals versus the same opponents over the next week as they build towards the World Twenty20 in Bangladesh that starts during mid-March.
Cook is not part of those plans and will therefore skip three ODIs in the Caribbean during late February and early March that precede as many Twenty20 internationals with the Windies.
Asked if he will play in those ODIs, Cook told Sky Sports: "No I won't be. The Twenty20 guys have got their World Cup in Bangladesh and I think we see it as a great six weeks for them to start building the team.”
Limited-overs coach Ashley Giles added: "The plan is we are playing three one-day games there but with the T20 World Cup we are probably going to pick a T20 squad, which gives us a good preparation time running into Bangladesh. It's likely that Stuart Broad will captain that side."
Cook explained he is ready for a break, having led England in the 5-0 Ashes whitewash and the subsequent one-dayers.
"It has been a challenging tour for me. I can't not say that," said Cook, who today scored 39 of England’s 212 all out from 49.4 overs.
"It's been a real tough tour for me. I am not exhausted, but I'm ready to put the pads away for a couple of weeks or so.
"I will enjoy seeing my pregnant wife. I'll enjoy seeing a few sheep (on the family farm) for a bit."
After some time away from cricket, Cook plans to fine-tune his batting in search of significant scores at the start of the English season.
"You know that hunger comes back quickly," he added. "I've got a couple of months off here where I can do some really solid work on my game."
Home skipper Michael Clarke, who oversaw Australia’s 3-0 Investec Ashes loss last summer, sympathised with Cook.
"I know what it feels like to lose a series as a captain,” Clarke said.
"It's certainly tough and you take it to heart and you take it quite personally. I'm sure Cookie will be looking forward to getting home and having a break.
"They're a good team and he's a good player. I've no doubt that the next time we come up against England they will be as tough as always.
"That's the one thing I do know. They're always tough in any form of the game. If you take them lightly, they'll run over you."
Victory today, built on George Bailey’s 56 and three wickets each for opening bowlers Clint McKay and Nathan Coulter-Nile, lifted Australia back to the top of the one-day rankings.
It was particularly pleasing for Clarke given England, chasing the hosts’ 217 for nine, were 154 for three in the 36th over.
"That's as satisfying a win as we've had recently as a one-day unit," he added.
"Winning tonight shows the confidence we have. We still have a few players out resting. We believe we can win no matter what position we are in.
"We haven't played our best cricket but we've found ways to win."