England v India, 5th ODI, Cardiff

Cook keen to continue winning feeling

Andrew Miller

September 15, 2011

Comments: 13 | Text size: A | A

For a man who started the summer amid doubts about his aptitude for one-day cricket, Alastair Cook has enjoyed a pretty healthy first season as England's full-time ODI captain.

Two hard-fought series wins over Sri Lanka and India have been complemented by his own impressive returns with the bat, and with the final act looming in Cardiff on Friday, he has the opportunity to send India back home without so much as a single victory to salve their battered pride.

"You get judged on the results and we've won both series," Cook told reporters in Cardiff. "It's an encouraging start but I think the good thing is, in the last two games we've not really played that well, but we managed to get the result which bodes well.

"Most games, especially in tournaments, are very close. It's good to get yourself used to those situations. If you dominate games it becomes less stressful. But we've made some good progress over the last couple of series."

England have a 2-0 lead with one match to play, following a wash-out in Durham and a rain-affected tie at Lord's on Sunday. Whatever happens in the fifth and final ODI cannot affect the overall result, but England have enjoyed developing their winning habit this summer, and Cook does not believe any of their appetites have been sated just yet.

"Andy [Flower] said it's amazing how quickly sport can change," said Cook. "The practice session today, you wouldn't have known what had happened in the series from the way we've trained over the last two days. The hunger in the side is there, it should be there, but it's good."

England's dominance has, to a certain extent, been mitigated by the absence of so many of India's frontline players, from their bowling spearhead Zaheer Khan to the man of the recent World Cup, Yuvraj Singh. Nevertheless, England have themselves had to make do without the likes of Kevin Pietersen, who has been rested, and Eoin Morgan, who has succumbed to a shoulder injury, but they've not let those absences affect their outlook.

"What's been encouraging is we've had no Eoin or Kevin and others have been given the chance and they've stepped up and taking their opportunities well - especially Ravi [Bopara]," said Cook. "We do need a squad and 15, 16, 17 players and people adapting to roles in the side and coming in to produce match-winning innings. The competition is there for places, and that can only be a good thing. We're all pushing to get into that eleven and competition raises the standard."


Alastair Cook leads the discussion at England's training session, Cardiff, September 15 2011
Alastair Cook wants to finish his international season on a high © Getty Images
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Despite Cook's best efforts, which included a remarkable innings of 80 not out from 63 balls in a 23-over second ODI at the Rose Bowl, he has been unable to break into England's Twenty20 plans, with Graeme Swann named as stand-in captain for the two matches against West Indies at The Oval next week.

"I was disappointed," Cook admitted. "You are when your name's in the hat for selection and it doesn't go your way. But it gives an opportunity for Graeme to do the job and I'll think he'll do a good job. The enthusiasm he has for the game will run off on people completely. He just loves it."

Swann's default mentality is one that England as a squad appear to have adopted this summer, with the vibe within the team seemingly as good as it ever has been. "I think success brings happiness," said Cook. "It's true when you are generally happy. When you're not winning, things start to grate on you a bit more than they would normally. And they wouldn't be if you were winning. But having said that, when we lost in Perth [during the Ashes] our team spirit was still good."

As for India, their morale has been sagging for months, and with seven defeats and no victories in nine matches to date, there's little succour on offer in this final fixture. While Cook shrugged that their struggles were "no concern to us", he could at least empathise with the situation their squad now found themselves in.

"It's extremely tough because when we lost the Ashes 5-0, we found that hard," said Cook. "It's tough when you are working hard and become beaten by a better side. It's hard for morale and confidence. I'm pleased with the way we've not let them get back into their stride because we hit the ground running."

The whitewash tour of 2006-07 followed only 18 months after the highlight of England's decade, the 2005 Ashes triumph - when the side looked capable of dominating all-comers, only to suffer a catastrophic loss of form and personnel. "We haven't repeated [those mistakes] because we've got better," said Cook. "We've taken huge steps forward as a set-up and as England players. And that's why that's not happened again."

In a contest that marks the end of India's tour, there will be a more general farewell to be made, as Rahul Dravid prepares to play his 344th and final one-day international. "He's an outstanding player," said Cook. "He's scored over 10,000 runs in both forms of the game. To be around as long as he has is incredible. He's a great of the modern day, there's no doubt about that."

Andrew Miller is UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Hammond on (September 16, 2011, 17:05 GMT)

Why aren't there any test matches in India this time? Who really cares about ODI's? I hope England send their Under 21's side.. that will be just about right for who will care about the series outside India?

Posted by   on (September 16, 2011, 16:10 GMT)

@ Rahul , Yup I still remember that series. Yeah it was very bad time for Pak but none of Pakistani didn't excused like you guys doing from the start of series. And Pak were not champions that time, but India are now a days. So be champions and don't excuse like Kids.

Posted by anver777 on (September 16, 2011, 12:11 GMT)

Good positive thinking by Cook & obviously he wants to end the series with a win..... hope rain won't intervene the proceedings in the final ODI !!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by DINESHCC on (September 16, 2011, 8:42 GMT)

ASIM KHAN: "70% OF INDIA'S WINNING RECORD IS AT HOME GROUND". THEN WHAT ABOUT THE RECORD OF PAKISTAN. WHERE IS THER HOME GROUND. WHETHER CRICKET IS PLAYED ON THOSE GROUNDS. IN MY MEMORY, AFTER THE RETIREMENT OF IMRAN KHAN NO MATCH IS PLAYED ON PAKISTAN GROUNDS. PLEASE PLAY SOME TENNIS BALL CRICKET ON THOSE PITCHES. OTHERWISE THE GROUND WILL BE SPOILED.

Posted by rahulcricket007 on (September 16, 2011, 3:43 GMT)

@ASIM KHAN . I THINK YOU HAVE FORGOTTEN THE PAKISTAN TOUR OF AUSTRALIA IN 2009 WHERE THEY LOST TEST SERIES BY 3-0, ODI BY 5-0, T20 BY 2-0.

Posted by landl47 on (September 16, 2011, 0:52 GMT)

The good thing about Cook as captain is that he will never be satisfied. Just as with his batting, he strives all the time to become better. I think the Indian team, with the notable exception of Dravid, had forgotten that before this tour. They had won the World Cup and were the #1 rated test side and they thought they were good enough not to worry too much about training and preparation. That led to injuries and poor performance. Flower, Strauss and now Cook have the attitude that it's necessary to keep improving all the time. Cook has a way to go yet as a captain, as I'm sure he'd admit, but he'll work at it in the same way as he's worked at everything else and he'll wind up as a successful captain- in fact, given his relatively young age, perhaps the most successful England captain ever. It helps that he's got a great group of young players coming up. If they all work as hard as he does, England are well-set for the future.

Posted by allblue on (September 15, 2011, 20:33 GMT)

There are many elements behind England's recent successes, but the lack of ego and each individual's focus on the team rather than self, as exemplified by Cook here, is a big part of it. Enjoy the success, but don't get carried away with it. Endure the failures, but don't get demoralised by them. Keep working hard on your strengths, work even harder at improving your weaknesses. Never be satisfied with what has been achieved, always look to the next challenge. As an England supporter of long standing, I am still finding it hard to believe what a dedicated and utterly professional team they have become over the last couple of years.

Posted by zico123 on (September 15, 2011, 19:46 GMT)

Engalnd should snub against Cook by not naming him T20 captain despite his recent good form with the bat, prior to that, Engalnd should snub to Kevin peterson by giving the ODI captancy to Cook who was not even part of the ODI team when Strauss stepped down.

Posted by rahulcricket007 on (September 15, 2011, 17:03 GMT)

CONTINUE.. LOOKS LIKE ENGLAND IS ALSO GOING TO SUFFER THE SAME SITUATION AS INDIA DOES WITH THEIR 3 MAIN PLAYERS INJURED .

Posted by rahulcricket007 on (September 15, 2011, 17:00 GMT)

What's been encouraging is we've had no Eoin or Kevin and others have been given the chance and they've stepped up and taking their opportunities well - especially Ravi [Bopara]," said Cook. It's extremely tough because when we lost the Ashes 5-0, we found that hard," said Cook. "It's tough when you are working hard and become beaten by a better side. It's hard for morale and confidence. I'm pleased with the way we've not let them get back into their stride because we hit the ground running." YEAH BUT WHAT IF YOU DON'T HAVE 7 REGULAR MEMBERS IN YOUR SQUAD THAT TOO IN FOREIGN CONDITIONS . LETS COME OCTOBER WE ARE DESPERATELY WAITING FOR IT . I M SURE MR. SRINIVISAN &BCCI HAS ALREADY STARTED PREPARATIONS FOR THE ODI SERIES AGAINST ENGLAND FOR TAKE REVENGE FOR THE HUMILIATION INDIAN TEAM SUFFERS ON THIS ENGLAND TOUR BY ENGLISH FANS, ENGLISH MEDIA, ENGLISH COMMENTATORS , ENGLISH CRICKETERS . CONTINUE .....

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Andrew MillerClose
Andrew Miller Andrew Miller was saved from a life of drudgery in the City when his car caught fire on the way to an interview. He took this as a sign and fled to Pakistan where he witnessed England's historic victory in the twilight at Karachi (or thought he did, at any rate - it was too dark to tell). He then joined Wisden Online in 2001, and soon graduated from put-upon photocopier to a writer with a penchant for comment and cricket on the subcontinent. In addition to Pakistan, he has covered England tours in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, as well as the World Cup in the Caribbean in 2007
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