Team director Andy Flower is also under pressure.

Team director Andy Flower is also under pressure. Photo: Getty Images

Alastair Cook admits his position as England captain is under threat but says he is determined to carry on beyond the end of this Ashes series.

Cook's leadership is in peril after the abject eight-wicket loss in the fourth Test at the MCG, and the England and Wales Cricket Board has begun an informal inquest on the team's capitulation. Some senior executives feel that ''things must change''.

That puts under intense scrutiny the status of Cook and team director Andy Flower.

A new management team for England cricket will begin work next week when James Whitaker officially takes over as chairman of selectors and Paul Downton replaces Hugh Morris as managing director. Flower will meet Downton in Sydney this week.

''The prospect of building a new successful England side would excite any coach. I'm motivated,'' Flower said in Melbourne on Monday. ''This is a challenging time for any leader. Out of challenging times we can grow and we'll be looking at how we will do that.''

In Sydney, Cook will be trying to avoid becoming the second England skipper in six years to suffer a whitewash in Australia. Andrew Flintoff did not captain England again after that tour, though Cook's position does look safer, especially as there is a lack of strong alternative candidates.

Cook said: ''I 100 per cent want to carry on. If someone makes that decision, and says, 'We think there's a better man' or 'you're not good enough to do it', then I have to take that on the chin - because as captain, you're responsible for the team.''

Graham Gooch, the batting coach, is also in the spotlight after the failure of the batsmen to combine to post big totals over the past nine months.

Speaking before the fourth day in Melbourne, ECB chairman Giles Clarke said he wanted Flower to continue. Clarke said: ''He's eager to beat Duncan Fletcher's India in 2014 and I'm sure he'll want to get back at Darren Lehmann in 2015. He's said nothing to me to suggest he's going anywhere. He's not said he's staying but he doesn't need to. He's an open person and he would tell me.''

Cook defended Flower and Gooch, saying: ''It wasn't so long ago we won in India with this same coaching staff and against Australia with the same coaching staff. They're decisions [coaching changes] which can be made later. That's why people higher up than me are paid money to make those decisions. If they think that's the way to go - with all those decisions, captain, coach, whatever - then that's the way it is. We can only concentrate on what we do from now, trying to regroup and put in a performance in Sydney.''

Cook was a young member of the team beaten 5-0 by the great Australian side of 2006-07, but this series is hurting him more, given that England won the Ashes so convincingly just four months ago.

Cook was also asked to explain his decision to turn to Joe Root's part-time off-spin ahead of front-line spinner Monty Panesar as Australia comfortably chased down the 201 runs it required at the start of the day.

''The reason Rooty came on at that end was two left-handers, and the drift with the wind. It would have been counterproductive with Monty bowling at that end with the drift. As always, with a captain, you make that decision at the time - and I'm sure a lot of people might have done it a different way.''

England flies to Sydney on Tuesday to prepare for the fifth Test starting on Friday. Changes to the line-up are inevitable, with Michael Carberry and Root the batsmen most under threat, while Panesar and Tim Bresnan are the bowlers most likely to make way.

''What we need in Sydney now is an outstanding hundred or an outstanding five-for and then everyone jumping on the back of that,'' said Cook.

Telegraph, London