We held our nerves today: Cook
Although India came close to chasing down the 326-run target, the England bowlers were able to restrict the hosts nine runs short by striking at regular intervals, thereby ensuring that the result of the 2002 NatWest Series final wasn’t repeated at the Lords’ like venue - Saurashtra Cricket Association’s Stadium, at Khandheri.
Reflecting on the game, England captain Alastair Cook told the media, “When you’ve [a team has] got to chase 325 on that wicket, you’re going to score a few runs. It’s very hard to stop that. I thought we didn’t get too carried away by their start. I think they got 60-odd, so I thought we did really well. And then obviously, we know what Tredders [James Tredwell] does. To get four [wickets] from there is really a brilliant effort. I thought everyone can say we held our nerves, even towards the end when it was getting tight, we held our nerve. And we have to keep doing that.”
Speaking about the significance of getting off to winning start, Cook said, “It is important, for the main reason that it gives us the confidence. I mean it’s pretty much the same squad that we had last time out here when we lost 5-0. So to get an early win, especially in the first game, it proves to themselves that they can play in these conditions. You know it’s hard, you know it’s tough and it’s different – but I thought the way we fought out there, we’re going to have to do there again in the next games. But more than confidence, the key is your skills. I thought we did that okay today. We can always get better. Holding your nerve in these conditions, especially as bowlers, is very tough.”
Ahead of the game, the England captain had referred to his team as the underdogs; when asked if he still feels the same way, he said, “Yeah, I do. I think we’re still clear underdogs just because of the fact that this is India’s home conditions and they’re so strong in their home conditions. But it was a really good 50-overs game for us today. We’re going to have to refresh well and keep practicing as hard as we can. And try and deliver in the middle.”
And the man who played a crucial role in the win was Man of the Match, James Tredwell. Speaking about his impressive performance, he said, “Hopefully, I can keep putting together performances and keep my hat in the ring for future opportunities.”
“The way I look at it is, I’ve to try and keep improving and put in the performances when I do get the chance and show them what I can do in training. And hopefully I get a few games along the way,” he added
When asked if getting wickets against Indian batsmen mean more for an overseas spinner such as himself, he said, “I guess so. They’re obviously good players of spin, but any international player you come up against is a good player, so they all mean a lot [guessing the last part, but I’m pretty sure the meaning is right even if the words aren’t.”
“You see them [Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar] and you want to emulate them. Obviously one-day cricket is completely different with a different set of skills and approach. It’s slightly different in that respect,” he said.
Discussing debutant Joe Root’s bowling, Tredwell said, “His temperament is what really stands out and obviously he’s got some good skills to go with that. That is most impressive.”
Elaborating Root’s role further, Cook added, “We think of him as a batsman, he’s in there to score runs. Clearly with the start we got, we needed the power hitters to come in next, but there’ll be other times when he’ll bat and score runs at the top of the order. It’s a big bonus that he can bowl more than useful off-spinners.”
“It was nice pitch for batting. It was slightly disappointing that one of the top order didn’t get a really big hundred. […] you need people who can clear the ropes in the end. […],” Cook concluded by talking about England’s batting performance to set up a competitive target.