Michael Vaughan believes England captain Alastair Cook has a long way to go to become a top skipper but has encouraged the opening batsman to persevere with his craft.
England slipped to an eight-wicket defeat at the MCG yesterday to go 4-0 down in the Ashes series and are now staring down the barrel of a whitewash in Australia.
Cook struggled for runs in the summer when he successfully guided England to a third consecutive Ashes victory but that now all seems a long time ago as he continues to look for fluency at the top of the order.
And Vaughan questioned Cook’s tactics during the Melbourne Test, with the decision to bowl Joe Root ahead of front-line spinner Monty Panesar on day four raising a few eyebrows.
“He’s under huge pressure because his team are 4-0 down,” former skipper Vaughan told BBC Radio Five Live.
“I hope he sticks with it, I hope he learns from a lot of mistakes that he made, particularly on the fourth day.
“He got his tactics wrong on the third morning when (Nathan) Lyon and (Brad) Haddin came out. He just spread the field, England only needed one wicket and he just allowed momentum to go Australia’s way.
“On the fourth morning, to take Stuart Broad off after the second over, to not bowl Monty Panesar, then to spread the field. You feel that he’s got a long way to go in terms of making sure that his tactics improve.”
Vaughan was also quick to question the role of the senior England players and coaches, suggesting that they should give Cook more support as he grows into leading his country.
“I’d like to know what the senior players in the team are doing,” he added. “You’ve got guys out there who have played 100 Test matches in Kevin Pietersen, you’ve got Stuart Broad. The senior bowler, Jimmy Anderson, has played many Test matches.
“Why aren’t they helping him out? Where are the coaches on the team? Why aren’t they delivering more of a thought process in terms of making sure the tactics improve.
“So far in this series, I don’t think anything of England’s form or batting or bowling or fielding or planning or training has been anywhere near what I would expect from an England side.”