Alastair Cook receives management support for World Cup

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Alastair Cook has been given support by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and is expected to be England captain for next year's World Cup despite a woeful run of form. 

Speaking to BBC Sport, managing director of the ECB, Paul Downton, said: "He's horribly out of form at the moment but, as we all know with form, that can turn.

"I would be extremely surprised if he wasn't the captain at the World Cup," continued Downton. 

The news comes after England coach, Peter Moores, recently warned there was "no guarantee" that Cook would be captain at the World Cup, following their loss in the sixth one-day international against Sri Lanka in Kandy.

Out of form

England's loss guaranteed a fourth consecutive ODI series defeat with Cook at the helm. The opener has scored just 87 runs in the current Sri Lanka series in the five games he has played, at an average of 17.40, with a top score of only 34.

His torrid run culminated in the Kandy ODI, where he hit only a single, and dropped a simple chance to dismiss eventual century-maker, Kumar Sangakkara, on just 41.

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Time to make a change?

Cook is now without an international hundred in 58 international innings - his last coming in New Zealand in March 2013 - and has not reached three figures in ODI cricket since making a century against the West Indies, in June 2012. 

After a humiliating 5-0 Ashes whitewash last winter, followed by a Test series defeat at home to Sri Lanka earlier in the summer, Cook looked to be on the brink of losing the captaincy, but victory over a poor India managed to briefly quieten the critics. 

On the difficult summer, Downton commented: "He's come through a traumatic summer, in terms of the pressure on him. But in doing so, that dressing-room is very much his dressing-room - in a way that it could never have been before.

"He's the natural leader of that group of players."

Clear lack of alternatives

The reluctancy to remove Cook's ODI captaincy at least, may stem from a lack of genuine alternatives. Calls for Eoin Morgan to take the reins have been widespread but he has also been in awful form - scoring just 96 runs at an average of 16 in England's current ODI series, with one half-century.

Following the completion of their tour of Sri Lanka, England will next travel to Australia in January for their final outing before the World Cup, where they will play a minimum of four matches in a tri-series that also involves India. 

England's World Cup campaign begins against Australia in Melbourne on February 14.

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