India in England 2014

Cook 'just gets steelier' - Moores

George Dobell

August 10, 2014

Comments: 62 | Text size: A | A

It was all smiles again for Alastair Cook, England v India, 4th Test, Old Trafford, 3rd day, August 9, 2014
Life has become significantly easier for the England captain after two wins © PA Photos
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Peter Moores, the England coach, has praised the resilience and determination of Alastair Cook following England's three-day victory over India in the fourth Investec Test at Old Trafford.

When England lost the Lord's Test, little more than a couple of weeks ago, it meant they had lost seven Tests in nine and were without victory in almost a year. Cook admitted his position as England captain was under pressure unless he could turn around his own form and the results of the team before the end of the series.

Now, successive victories later, that pressure has eased. While some concerns over Cook's batting form linger, the improved performances from the rest of the team have revived hopes that England's new era is heading in the right direction.

But, even during those challenging days after Lord's, Cook never lost his appetite for the job. Indeed, according to Moores, the experience brought the best out of him.

"He's one of those characters who, the more criticism he gets, the more determined he becomes," Moores said. "He just gets steelier. He would openly admit that he's had a really tough ride. But that often can forge somebody into something special.

"The significant point came when he made it clear he was in it for the long haul. He made it clear he wanted to do the job. If other people didn't want him, then fine, he'd move on, but he made public his desire to captain England. He just said that he was going to give it everything he's got and he still has the same approach now.

Moores delighted with England newcomers

  • Peter Moores hailed the performances of Moeen Ali and Jos Buttler after England's innings-and-54-run victory over India at Old Trafford.
  • Moeen again played a key role with the ball in the second innings, taking 4 for 39 as India were skittled for the second time in the match. Moeen is now the second highest wicket-taker in the series with 19 victims.
  • "He's backed up the performance in Southampton," Moores said. "He's getting better, that's the main thing. He'll have his challenges. He's not the sort of bloke to get carried away and he's shown in international cricket there is a chance to develop really fast because you are amongst good players.
  • "He's bowling against top flight batters and he's adjusted. His pace has increased and he's bowling tighter. The fact that he is getting out top players of spin will bring him a lot of confidence."
  • Moores was also pleased with wicketkeeper Jos Buttler who made an important 70 with the bat and recovered from a shaky first-innings to keep soundly in the second.
  • "He's played two very different innings. He's not just a biff-bang player. He's calm at the crease, he looks in control.
  • "That partnership with Root was really good because they got through a difficult period. But he also took his opportunities to score so he was happy to sweep or lap the spinner or take on the seamer."

"Everybody knows it is a very pressurised job. You're dictated by results. But you need to know that somebody is up for the challenge. You've got to have a belief in them as a person that, as captain, they can take people forward. Leadership is about getting people to follow you and creating opportunities for them. Cooky is very much into that. Deep down, he is a real carer as a bloke."

Moores also praised elements of Cook's captaincy that might not be seen by the media or spectators. Insisting that the creation of a positive dressing room environment was at least as important as on-field tactics, Moores reiterated his commitment to Cook as captain and suggested he was improving in all facets of leadership.

"If you have players who are confident to play, it is probably more important than whether you have three slips or four," Moores said. "If you have a guy running in hard for you in his third spell and he's tired and he's working for you and for the team, that is more important than a field position being five yards out. There will always be in cricket three decisions you can make at one time, but what you want is a team out there playing hard.

"Alastair is developing quickly as captain. He has great values to lead with, so that's always a great start. It is difficult to ask somebody else to do something you wouldn't do yourself and there is nothing Alastair wouldn't do, for England or for the team. So that's a good place to start. But tactically he is also developing quickly.

"He is in a great position because he is relatively young to have played so many Test matches and to have such a great record. He has a desire to lead. It doesn't mean you would question yourself - everyone questions themselves all the time, humility is the sign of a good leader - but for me you're trying to build relationships and keep everyone in the group settled. There will be some changes but hopefully the leader is one you don't want to change too often."

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by SoyQuearns on (August 12, 2014, 23:40 GMT)

@VillageBlacksmith - Cook will score more runs, but it's not all about HOW MANY runs.

Both have scored more than Bradman, by your logic, thus, they are both better?

Ridiculous point.

And our most recent away series in Australia - how did that end?

You cling to things that are long past, including the notion that Cook is any more than a good player some of the time.

And - hiding in the middle order? Seriously? So anyone that is not an opening batsman is hiding are they?

Was Steve Waugh hiding down the order? Was Allan Border? Was AB de Villiers for all those years? Mahela Jayawardena? Mike Hussey? That's just an unhealthy viewpoint and total nonsense.

Openers, top order, middle order - they all require equal yet differing skills and hold equal importance to any campaign.

That's like saying Muralitharan isn't as good as Curtly Ambrose because he bowls slow & Curly bowls fast. They are not right/wrong, just different roles.

Clinging to the past does no favour.

Posted by VillageBlacksmith on (August 12, 2014, 17:39 GMT)

@soyqearns… kp has been on an ever increasing downward spiral since India.. it's quite apparent by his plummeting average vs increasing age, plus a test career threatening knee injury if you remember… he has done nothing of note since, apart from lead his ipl mob in last and clock up thousands of air miles… He may even at last play a FC game this season… sometime next month I believe, and so we will all be able to see how he goes then… You commented before about clarke being a great of the game and cook not…. stats guru will tell you that cook already has more test runs than clarke and Cook is 4 yrs younger than clarke and so Cook will no doubt go way past clarke's final tally… And that as an opener, not hiding in the middle order… Cook also has recently won a series in India away as Capt, unlike clarke who recently lost 4-0 amidst 'homework-gate' and at a quick glance Cook prob has more ashes winners medals…

Posted by neil99 on (August 12, 2014, 17:38 GMT)

Cook is still not the man to lead the team. Great batsman yes, great captain certainly not. England played well, but were also very fortunate that India folded like the proverbial deck of cards, which was not due to Cooks sparkling and charismatic leadership. As soon as there's stiffer opposition we'll be back the one dimensional Cook, who is incapable of plan B. The worst of it is our ears are now ringing smug "I told you so" from Moores et al, despite winning just 2 out of 12 tests and ban even worse record in one dayers.

Posted by SoyQuearns on (August 12, 2014, 9:30 GMT)

@jmcilhinney - yeah, solid points, that he was a newcomer, and also a Hampshire lad, could possibly have either left his thoughts ill-informed (insofar as seeing the long, drawn out picture are concerned), or slightly biased.

He wasn't at his best for some time, this much is also true.

I guess at the heart of it I'm just sad that he was so good for and to us for so long and then it all came crashing down in a heap.

That two massive fans of the game (you and I) can only but hypothesise on the state of play only furthers my disappointment in the whole sorry mess. We should get answers, we deserve at least that much surely!

On a side note (ha, well, more like back to the point of the article) - I'm pleased with England's wins in the last 2 tests, however am not drawing any long-term viewpoints from them.

That said - the best part is that, aside from our back-up bowlers (who just don't look right at this level), our newcomers have stood tall, taller even than some of the experienced.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (August 12, 2014, 7:07 GMT)

@SoyQuearns on (August 12, 2014, 4:16 GMT), I'd be inclined to take what Carberry had to say with a grain of salt, given that he too was disgruntled at the time. Maybe he's the only one who'd be honest for that reason, or maybe he had an axe to grind. Maybe he didn't have the full picture, given that he was a relatively new addition to the squad and hadn't experienced what went before. I just don't believe that the ECB would get rid him if he was the perfect team man that Carberry paints him to be after the efforts they made to accommodate him. Maybe it was that they were prepared to put up with his shenanigans for some time because, as you say, he was their best batsman but his returns had not been all that stellar for a while.

Posted by _-Will-_ on (August 12, 2014, 4:41 GMT)

After Lords, Dhoni was hailed a tactical genius - an absolute fallacy given what transpired in away tests for 3+ years before and two matches since.

For the sake of Cook, those around him should try to keep it real.

He's making progress and showing courage - much more than can be said for many others who have not experienced, or refused to acknowledge, even a fraction of the criticism and pressure Cook has. Allow him time to heal completely and let nature then dictate his role in the team. He is way too good a player and person to be treated otherwise.

Posted by SoyQuearns on (August 12, 2014, 4:16 GMT)

@jmcilhinney - I mean it depends on where you are sourcing your info. Michael Carberry basically ruled himself out of contention for Eng (ever again) by going on official record & saying that, far from a nuisance in Australia, KP was extremely helpful in providing assistance, advice & generally showing support.

From what I can gather, the majority of this boils down to the fact KP aired some concerns about Andy Flower, in a team meeting designed to be 'for players ears only' (of which his thoughts & opinions were leaked immediately), & then from that point he was ostracised & made an example of to ward off any other players thinking about having an opinion that differed from 'the desired outcomes' (i.e. compliant, obedient & submissive).

You make a fair point that there must be a 'triggerpoint' after the elongated process of reintegration, however Carberry seems to be the best gauge of this.

Furthermore - he's our best Batsman since Gooch. IMO that's a 'nuff said' situation.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (August 12, 2014, 1:35 GMT)

@SoyQuearns on (August 11, 2014, 23:48 GMT), you say that KP didn't justify an end in the first place but you don't know that. Loads of people are claiming that the ECB have made KP a scapegoat for the Ashes whitewash but I don't think that's the case at all. The ECB didn't have to wait for that Ashes loss to use as an excuse to get rid of KP if that's what they wanted. They'd already got rid of him after the SA series and text-gate. Why would they reintegrate him after that if they were only going to get rid of him without justification later? I don't know any more than you do about what happened but I can only assume that there was more poor behaviour from KP after reintegration or warrant his dismissal or they wouldn't have reintegrated him in the first place. We heard lots from Cook about wanting KP in the side for India after text-gate and Prior too, but not a word of support that I heard after the Ashes. That says something to me.

Posted by SoyQuearns on (August 11, 2014, 23:48 GMT)

@YorkshirePudding - I guess we'll have to agree to disagree. We both want what is best for our English side.

My major concern is that Eng pick the best behaved XI not the best XI. You can't use what KP has done SINCE he was dropped after scoring the most runs in the failed Ashes campaign, he'll take a while to get over that and the internal betrayal coupled with the public slinging matches initiated by the English board. And rightly so - he's been betrayed for being himself.

Build em up and knock em down. Does any country in the world do it better than us?

And you can't use team results to judge an individual player (unless they are captain). Anderson and Broad were in all of our 9 tests without a win, are you going to say antything about them then?

It is also futile to use KP's t20 stats to strengthen or weaken his case for Test selection. Wildly different formats.

It's not so much KP justifies a return, it is that he didn't justify an end in the first place!

Posted by itsthewayuplay on (August 11, 2014, 15:30 GMT)

Most rational India fans will tell you that England were always only an India series away from rediscovering winning ways. Moores rightly credits the efforts of the England players in turning things round but he should also recognise the ineptitude of the Indian cricket team and thank them for turning up. In 2011, India couldn't score more than 300 in an innings, this last test they couldn't reach 200. In 2014, it was in good batting conditions that contributions from the tail that got India safe in the 1st test and then helped post what turned out to be a winnng total for the 2nd. Let's see if the they can cross 200 in the last.

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