London: With the World Cup two months away the England and Wales Cricket Board`s decision to sack Alastair Cook as one-day captain was very much a case of better late than never.
Cook`s dismissal had become inevitable despite ECB managing director Paul Downton saying this week that he would be "very surprised" if the Essex batsman was replaced as captain before the World Cup starts in Australia on Feb. 14.
The 29-year-old has been woefully out of form with the bat and has struggled all year in the 50-over format, making 523 runs in 20 matches at a mediocre average of 27.52.
During England`s recent 5-2 one-day series defeat in Sri Lanka, Cook looked rigid at the crease and short of ideas in the field -- a dismal combination which ultimately proved to be his downfall.
"I am gutted to be left out of the World Cup squad and it is likely to take me a while to get over the disappointment," Cook said.
"That said I wish ... the lads all the best for the World Cup."
Although the decision to remove Cook has been taken in a last- ditch attempt to revive England`s fortunes at the World Cup, the timing has been called into question.
"To get rid of him now when he`s taken lots of punches for some people (at the ECB) is naughty," former England bowler Steve Harmison told the BBC. "I`d like them to have done it six months ago."
Swashbuckling middle-order batsman Eoin Morgan will lead England`s World Cup charge against Pool A opponents Australia, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Scotland.
Despite faring worse than Cook with the bat in 2014, averaging 25.45, the 28-year-old Middlesex left-hander has an impressive record in the eight one-day matches in which he has captained England, piling up 427 runs at an average of 71.16.
"Morgan is a very aggressive, flamboyant entertainer and we all dream of England playing that way too," former England captain Michael Vaughan wrote in The Telegraph.
"He knows the modern ways of one-day cricket and he has a lot of very talented youngsters coming through."
England warm up for the World Cup by playing in a Tri-Series tournament in Australia next month which also features India.
They will hope Morgan can inject much-needed energy and belief into a side desperately short of confidence.