Coach Flower backs struggling Cook

England: England coach Andy Flower has backed struggling batsman Alastair Cook but said he should not expect any special treatment as the vice-captain.

Cook led England in Bangladesh in March when regular captain Andrew Strauss took a break and scored two centuries in the series, but he has failed to reach 30 in his last seven Test innings.

"Alastair Cook has been a very important member of the side for a while now but it would be remiss of me to discuss selection before the selectors meet," Flower told reporters.

"I don`t think (his being vice-captain) comes into any discussion on selection at this juncture. We must pick what we think is the best side to win a game or a series and that`s our responsibility."

Flower, who played alongside Cook for Essex, rates the 25-year-old who has made 4,238 runs in 58 Tests at an average of 42.80, including 12 centuries.

England are likely to stick with Cook for the final two Tests of the series against Pakistan, which they lead 2-0 following Monday`s victory at Edgbaston, to give him the chance to rediscover his form before this year`s Ashes.

"Cook will definitely come good at some stage," Flower said. "He has shown that through his international career to date. He`s been a very fine player for England and will continue to be so in the future.”

"He`s having a hard time at the moment. There`s no doubt about that, he`ll acknowledge that, but he is doing everything in his power to get that form back."

Bureau Report

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