We need to do better: Cook
Hoping to carry forward their winning momentum, the English side arrived in Kochi for the second game of the five-match ODI series against India. Taking the field in the latter half of the day at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on both their practice days, the Alastair Cook-led side has been working hard.
The high-scoring, yet close, first game has given the team an indication of what lies ahead. Reflecting on the win while speaking to the media, Cook said “I thought we played really well. It’s obviously a great start to the series when you win the first game, an important game to win too. But now we have to move on. Hopefully, we can keep up the standard of the performances and win this game.”
“The one-day game was tight; we probably just nicked it by close margins. It is a bit early to say that, we’re 1-0 up in the series, and I am just very happy with the win. It’s a five-match series and we need to win some more games,” he added.
Not taking their opponents lightly, Cook expects India to come back stronger and harder. “They are a world-class side and the stats show how hard it is to win here. We’re prepared for that. We’re going to have to up our skills and our standard of performances, if we want to win this game, which we have to keep from falling,” he said.
Appreciating young Joe Root’s effort with the ball in his debut game at Rajkot, the England captain said, “I thought Joe did really well. He bowled and played well, bowled nine overs [at Rajkot]. It was only the last couple of runs [that he conceded], those were big runs but I thought the way he handled pressure of being a part time bowler really well. He was fantastic. I hope to be able to use him at some stage of the game. Samit didn’t bowl a huge amount in the last game. We have to be flexible. Certain times when there is left-hander, then an off-spinner for example will bowl during that time.”
“He [Joe Root] has an old head on young shoulders. He is still a very young player, still learning his game. He has a huge amount of learning to do, improving to do and he knows that. The good thing that stood out for me was how he handled himself in tough situations. To come out here and play a Test match in India, play one-dayer in India as your debut, the way he has adapted. He didn’t get to bat in the first game, but he made a contribution. Hopefully, it bodes well for the future.”
He further added, “On that wicket it was incredibly hard for us to bowl. It was a really quick outfield. There was no margin for error, everytime you stray slightly, it was easy for the batsmen. It was a very, very tough job and those two held their nerves. [When they] got hit, they put it to bed and came in the next ball and tried to get it better. We know how hard the first ten overs are while bowling. Clearly we can always improve on the areas that you are bowling. Those two handled the first ten over very well, which is probably the most important thing.”
Speaking about the England spinners’ impressive performances in the Tests and now in the one-dayers, he said, “In the Tests matches we bowled very well, Monty [Panesar] and [Grame Swann] Swanny proved what quality bowlers they are. In that first one-day, [James] Tredwell [who] has been around for a while now [played well] and he’s been doing that for years. It just proves that with experience you can learn how to bode well in very tough international cricket. Look, we played one game, so let’s not get too carried away. We know the sides, enjoyed the other night, it was a good win. But we won by a fine margins and we have to do that again in the remaining games.”
On the England pacers, who have been troubling the batsmen, he said, “I think it is [it is the best fast bowling pool he can remember]. It is certainly the biggest pool we could choose from. Certainly in the Test arena, looking at the Test team, we almost have two bowlers to choose from for every single place. And they’re different kind of bowlers. In the one-dayers, we have proper young bowlers who are getting better and better as we speak and they way we have practice on this tour and the enthusiasm to learn the skills it is very encouraging.”
“It comes down to the eleven players in either side and which of the player the players stand up in certain games and certain situations. We have had some stand-out performances from have pretty much all our players. And we will need that against high quality opposition. Before the series, we need players to stand up and be counted. We’ve done that so far.”
Speaking about himself, Cook said, “I have always said I wanted to play as much cricket as I can for England and whenever I can. Rest and rotation is going to be an important part of the side, moving forward. Luckily we are building a squad of players with young guys who have been around for six –eight months in the international side and they are gaining experience, being around the squad and hopefully improving if they get their chance, they can take it. Rest and restoration is important. We have spoken about it and it is nice for me going tour by tour and week by week. There was a time when I wasn’t a one-day player or playing any cricket at all for the one-day side. Right now, I am feeling very fresh and feeling excited by the challenges ahead. I can’t really plan too far ahead.”