England v India, 5th ODI, Cardiff

Bairstow a fine find, says Cook

Andrew Miller

September 17, 2011

Comments: 58 | Text size: A | A

Alastair Cook believes that England have "found one" in their quest to build a world-beating 50-overs team to go alongside their top-ranked Test squad, after the Yorkshire debutant, Jonny Bairstow, blazed a brilliant 41 not out from 21 balls to win the fifth and final ODI at Cardiff.

In a rain-reduced run-chase, England had been set a stiff 241 from 34 overs and still needed 75 at almost nine an over when Bairstow emerged in the 25th. But after smacking his fifth ball over midwicket for six, he settled comfortably into an attacking groove, as he and Ravi Bopara wrapped up the contest with ten balls to spare.

"I just wanted to go out and play my natural game," said Bairstow. "It wasn't necessarily easy, and it was really pleasing the way it turned out in the end. There were obviously some nerves. That's only natural, and you've just got to turn them into something positive. It was a new challenge and something I really enjoyed, but a massive part of it is how the guys, the captain and the coach, make you feel when you come into the set-up. You're made to feel completely at home."

The six-wicket victory gave England an impressive 3-0 scoreline to go alongside their 4-0 whitewash in the Tests, as well as their one-off win in the Twenty20 at Old Trafford, and as Cook's thoughts now turn to the challenge that awaits his new-look squad in the return one-day series in India next month, he believes that Bairstow has the makings of a vital member of England's middle-order.

"What a way to make an international statement," said Cook. "I think we've just found a player. I don't want to heap too much pressure on him, but to make your debut like that and go and play in such a controlled but positive way was incredible. The lads looking around in the dressing room were saying we've just found one. All credit to Jonny for that. It's never always going to be plain sailing, but he looks like an outstanding prospect."

The scenario for England in the final match of the series had not looked too rosy at the halfway point of the contest, after India had posted their first 300-plus total of summer courtesy a Virat Kohli century. But the calm confidence that has been a hallmark of England's batting all series came once again to the fore, with important contributions from every member of the top six.

"That was an outstanding chase - 240 in 34 overs, to get it done with 10 balls to spare," said Cook. "The batting line-up as a whole can take a lot of credit for that, and the way Jonny and Ravi finished it off was spectacular. What we have done is started off on what we hope will be a very successful journey.


Jonny Bairstow lofts powerfully down the ground, England v India, 5th ODI, Cardiff, September 16, 2011
Alastair Cook: "Bairstow looks like an outstanding prospect; the determination to improve from the lads is very encouraging." © Getty Images
Enlarge

"Obviously we've missed the experienced players, [but it] has given others an opportunity," he added. "It's been a tough battle, close games and rain - and I've been very happy with the way we've been able to adapt. We've had a lot of little situations thrown at us, and the way we've handled them - especially as a batting side - is pleasing.

In the absence of several key players, including the established middle-order pairing of Kevin Pietersen and Eoin Morgan, as well as the two senior seamers, James Anderson and Stuart Broad, Cook was pleased to finish the series with so many new contenders making their case for selection. Jade Dernbach tailed off towards the end of the series but sealed the Twenty20 with a Man-of-the-Match performance, while Ben Stokes - who missed this game with a damaged finger - is another man who can expect to feature strongly in India next month.

"With these young players coming in now - people like Jade, who's made a mark, obviously Jonny, Ben Stokes - I'm very happy with how we've played in certain areas," Cook said. "The hunger and determination to improve from the lads is very encouraging. We are going to need that over the next couple of months in subcontinent conditions, where we haven't played a huge amount of successful one-day cricket, and our learning curve is going to be steep, but I'm very confident in the players we've got.

"It's been an incredible summer for us, and in the last two months we've played some outstanding cricket," he added. "In these last few games we've managed to sneak home, which shows very good character in the side and that bodes well for the future.

On a personal note, it has been an impressive summer's work from the captain Cook, who restarted his ODI career amid criticism of his "plodding" tempo in limited-overs cricket. He has now passed fifty in six of his 13 games in charge, at a strike-rate of 94.53, while securing series wins against each of his three opponents, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and India.

"I hope I've answered a few of the critics," Cook said. "But it's not about proving people wrong as such; it's about proving to myself that I can do it. The last couple of games I don't think I've played as well as I could have done. I think I've struggled a little bit with my timing. It always takes time for a new captain to come in and players to get used to your style. But we'll call it a good start, and move on from there."

The next challenge promises to be Cook's toughest yet, as he prepares to take on India in their own conditions in their first series on home soil since the World Cup victory in April. On their last tour of the country in November 2008, under Kevin Pietersen, England were drubbed 5-0 in the ODIs and also lost an incredible Test in Chennai, so the scale of the task is not to be under-estimated, even with the morale of the two teams so polarised.

"India are world champions for a reason," said Cook. "When we went to India last time we didn't win a game, so that shows the challenge we have ahead of us in these next two months. But with the developing squad we've got, these are exciting times - and I think we can adapt well to those conditions."

Andrew Miller is UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

RSS Feeds: Andrew Miller

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by YorkshirePudding on (September 20, 2011, 10:47 GMT)

@cricket_for_all, hes been imported for the glorious country that is Yorkshire, a country rich with its own traditions, and famed for producing great players, such as Rhodes, Sutcliffe, Verity, Hutton, Trueman, Illingworth, Boycott, Gough, Vaughan, Hoggard, Sidebottom, and now Bairstow looks to be adding his name to the list of Imports from this small but great country.

Posted by 5wombats on (September 19, 2011, 17:15 GMT)

@RandyOZ - hilarious! "I cannot wait to see them cleaned up by tough opposition, which they will get from SA and us in the next Ashes" LOL - mate - you've spent too long reading some of the comments on here from our indian friends. "cleaned up by a tough opposition". LOL You have no idea how funny that sounds coming from an aussie....

Posted by RandyOZ on (September 19, 2011, 15:34 GMT)

its hilarious that the English and the likes of 5wombats still continue to believe that they are untouchable. I cannot wait to see them cleaned up by tough opposition, which they will get from SA and us in the next Ashes

Posted by 5wombats on (September 19, 2011, 13:37 GMT)

@Snick_To_Backward_Point; I agree with you my friend. I have hardly seen any of your posts lately. I have been luckier with cricinfo and around 60% of my comments get put up - but much of my "work" is lost. Like you, I have also commented to them about putting up posts. You say "Seems certain posters get to have their say ad infinitum, often controversially" - this is certainly true. Come on cricinfo - this site is good, but people are going to be put off if their comments and opinions don't get posted.

Posted by Snick_To_Backward_Point on (September 19, 2011, 12:29 GMT)

Hi - this isn't intended as a post more a request for help...

Could you let me know what your rules & regs regarding comments left on articles are? I'm having trouble trying to understand why most of the time I'm falling foul of your rules.

This is one of my favourite sites that im on almost every day but It's so frustrating to leave comments only to find them ignored!

I can;t find any rhyme or reason to the censorship either when I look at other posts. Seems certain posters get to have their say ad infinitum, often controversially?

Posted by cricket_for_all on (September 19, 2011, 3:38 GMT)

Is He English or another import?

Posted by   on (September 18, 2011, 22:34 GMT)

just wanna say that i played against bairstow at school in a twenty20 i bowled 2 overs at him and bowled 2 overs for 4 runs thought i had the upper hand, then came back on at the death and got absolutely demolished lol this guy can seriously play, he looks focussed and i hope he does stay focused cos he can hit a clean ball and thats judging from first hand experience lol not a great technique but an unbelievable eye! keep goin jonny just not against india!!!

Posted by Quazar on (September 18, 2011, 11:56 GMT)

(Repost) - @shan156... you distorted the meaning of one of my earlier posts. I never claimed India was as dominant as the West Indies or Australia... and you conveniently ignored that I had mentioned South Africa as well. My point was that England would gain even more kudos if they displayed more consistent quality in both major forms of the international game, just like other top teams (and top players) have in the past... it is certainly a challenge that other top teams have accepted and overcome. As for winning the World Cup versus Test series... there is no trade-off. Indian fans cherish both a great deal; and the top teams can excel in both. Finally, winning the World Cup isn't just a "nice thing to do"... it is bloody hard to achieve! You get 1 chance in 4 years, all the top nations come hard at each other, and the mental challenge (or ghosts in the case of the unfortunate Saffers) is as tough as it gets.

Posted by Quazar on (September 18, 2011, 11:54 GMT)

(Repost) - @shan156... you distorted the meaning of one of my earlier posts. I never claimed India was as dominant as the West Indies or Australia... and you conveniently ignored that I had mentioned South Africa as well. My point was that England would gain even more kudos if they displayed more consistent quality in both major forms of the international game, just like other top teams (and top players) have in the past... it is certainly a challenge that other top teams have accepted and overcome. As for winning the World Cup versus Test series... there is no trade-off. Indian fans cherish both a great deal; and the top teams can excel in both. Finally, winning the World Cup isn't just a "nice thing to do"... it is bloody hard to achieve! You get 1 chance in 4 years, all the top nations come hard at each other, and the mental challenge (or ghosts in the case of the unfortunate Saffers) is as tough as it gets.

Posted by hhillbumper on (September 18, 2011, 9:59 GMT)

reading some of the comments on here I can see why Indian cricket could be in trouble.Sometimes accepting your team is not as strong can make you address the issues.England do not claim to be an all time great team.We are a good team striving to be great.We made changes to county cricket and that is why there is so much young English talent.We could field a team of under 25s who could hold their own and they are not all south african kolpaks.

Comments have now been closed for this article

TopTop
Email Feedback Print
Share
E-mail
Feedback
Print
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
Tour Results
England v India at Cardiff - Sep 16, 2011
England won by 6 wickets (with 10 balls remaining) (D/L method)
England v India at Lord's - Sep 11, 2011
Match tied (D/L method)
England v India at The Oval - Sep 9, 2011
England won by 3 wickets (with 7 balls remaining) (D/L method)
England v India at Southampton - Sep 6, 2011
England won by 7 wickets (with 5 balls remaining)
England v India at Chester-le-Street - Sep 3, 2011
No result
More results »
News | Features Last 3 days
News | Features Last 3 days