Hip problem rules Cook out of Championship start
The much-anticipated early-season match-up between Alastair Cook and James Anderson has been scrubbed with Cook, the former England captain, out of Essex's opening Specsavers County Championship match against Lancashire with a hip problem.
A scan on Cook's left hip has ruled out a serious injury but he will undergo an injection to try and ease the problem he has been managing for "several weeks" according to an ECB statement and will therefore sit out the first round of the Championship.
The match against Lancashire would have been Cook's first first-class outing since the Test series against India in December after which he stepped down as England's Test captain in January.
"I've got a sore hip, which is not getting right," Cook said. "We're going to go for a different bit of treatment and hopefully it will be all right for Somerset. It's just frustrating to miss the first game."
Even though his next England assignment is three months away, Cook added he did not want to risk making the problem worse. "That's the key in one sense [not taking chances], the first Test match is in July. Ultimately the hip's not quite right, so it needs to get right before you can play. It's been going for a month or so now."
Earlier this week, Cook spoke to ESPNcricinfo about the transition from being a captain back to a player and said it was taking some adjusting to. "I won't miss going into all the extra press conferences, he said. "But being at the centre of it, being involved in a lot of decision-making, was the excitement of the job. Not doing that any more, will probably take a while to get used to.
"Ultimately I know it was the right decision for myself and the team but that doesn't make it any easier. It has been time to move on as a person and a player."
He added that he was eager to return to the middle for Essex ahead of the resumption of England's Test cricket in July when they face South Africa. "It's the next phase of my career," he said. "I've really enjoyed playing for Essex in pre-season and that's the most important thing. I'm refreshed and raring to go. It's time to move on."