Ashes 2013-14: Alastair Cook wants to remain England captain
Alastair Cook says he is determined to continue as England captain but admits his future is far from certain.
Cook has overseen a disastrous Ashes campaign, with England now one loss away from a 5-0 whitewash following an eight-wicket defeat in Melbourne.
"I 100% want to carry on," Cook said. "In a strange way I'm enjoying the job.
"I'm totally responsible as captain for the team, and if at the end of the series the selectors decide I'm not the best man for the job then so be it."
"We all believe Alastair Cook when he says how hard they're working but something else is needed, that indefinable spark to lighten the mood as well.
"There's no disintegration of discipline but one of the things that Darren Lehmann did when he came in as Australia coach, even though they were losing, was lighten the mood. I don't think the England players are enjoying themselves very much at the moment but it's a tough conundrum to solve.
"The odds are they will get whitewashed 5-0, I'd be quite surprised if it didn't happen."
Cook added: "It would hurt, and I've got no plans of going anywhere."
The 29-year-old made some puzzling tactical decisions as Australia cantered to their target of 231 on the fourth day, the highest successful fourth-innings score at this ground for over half a century.
He opted to remove his most threatening bowler, Stuart Broad, from the attack after just two overs, one of which had brought an edge, and then gave part-time spinner Joe Root a spell long before turning to his specialist Monty Panesar.
The reverse followed heavy defeats in Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth - and Cook admitted his leadership could be a significant part of the problem.
"Yes. It's something you do look at as captain and leader of the group," he said.
"I think we're preparing in the right way, but just not delivering it out there - or Australia aren't allowing us to."
Cook's most immediate task is to lift his team for the final Test, starting in Sydney on 3 January.
"I'm desperately trying to use as much of my experience of playing 100 Tests as I can to help turn this team around," he said.
"I know that it starts with a lot of hard work and it starts with a performance or two that we jump on the back of.
"But if someone says there's a better man for the job, then I have to take that on the chin."
England came into this series unbeaten in 13 Tests while Australia were without a win in nine.
But just four months after winning the corresponding series in England 3-0, Cook's battered team are now facing a second unwanted clean-sweep in three tours down under as their collapse becomes more comprehensive with every match.
But former captain Michael Vaughan does not believe Cook is solely responsible for a series of dismal displays.
"Cook is under huge pressure because his team are 4-0 down, but I hope he sticks with it," Vaughan told BBC Radio 5 live.
"I would like to know what the senior players are doing. You've got guys out there like Kevin Pietersen who have played 100 Tests matches, you've got Stuart Broad, and Jimmy Anderson has played many, many matches.
"What are they doing in the tactics? Why aren't they helping him out? Why aren't the coaches doing more? So far in this series, I don't think anything of England's form, batting, bowling, fielding, planning and training has been anywhere near the standard of what I would expect of an England side."
Cook has also had to deal with serious issues outside his control - the early departure of Jonathan Trott with a stress-related illness, the poor form and subsequent dropping of vice-captain Matt Prior and the shock retirement of key bowler Graeme Swann.
But Cook said: "We can't use anything that has happened as an excuse.
"We tried to get the ball reversing [on Sunday], we wanted to bowl the seamers with the harder ball - that is why Panesar was held off for a little while.
"I'm sure others would have done it differently, but if we knew the answers we'd be doing it.
"Eventually it will turn because there are some very good players in that dressing room. You can come to any of our training sessions and see how hard we're working."