England news July 10, 2011

Flower lauds Cook for series win

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Andy Flower, the England team director, has praised Alastair Cook for the way he has handled the dual challenges of proving himself as a one-day batsman and captain in the 3-2 series win against Sri Lanka. The silverware was secured with a tight 16-run win at Old Trafford where Cook also took his personal contribution to 298 runs.

Apart from the volume of runs, which included a career-best 119 at Lord's, the impressive feature was the strike-rate of 96.75. That number was boosted by his 75-ball 95 at Trent Bridge as Cook provided evidence that he is making strides towards evolving into a effective one-day batsman to supplement his record-breaking Test credentials.

Cook had to face some strong criticism both before and during the series but refused to be drawn into any war of words and constantly said performance on the field was the most important factor. The five matches helped Cook build on the positive impression he made as captain last year when he filled in for Andrew Strauss.

"He had some tricky decisions to make throughout the series, and he was under pressure from a number of quarters," Flower said. "I thought he handled that pressure really well, and made some really good decisions out there today.

"He had to be very flexible, and he was. We saw him handle pressure well out in Bangladesh too, which isn't an easy tour. He grew there as a leader, and without doubt this series will have helped him grow too."

Cook showed hints of innovation in his batting, with some dabs and scoops against the spinners, but on the whole relied on the strong shots that have brought him success in Test cricket. A comparison has been made about how Cook needs to perform a similar role to Mahela Jayawardene in the Sri Lanka team and Flower believes he has shown he can do that.

"Graham Gooch has worked very closely with him on his batting for a long time - because obviously one-day cricket is very different to Test cricket," he said. "I think he's adapted well. It might not look as pretty as a Jayawardene, but it's been even more effective in this series. He should feel very proud of his contribution with the bat, and how he's handled some of the pressure he's been under."

However, not all England's batsmen enjoyed such a productive series. Kevin Pietersen's lean time in ODIs since 2008 continued with 85 runs in four innings, while Ian Bell didn't look at home at No. 6 where he made 81 runs at a strike of under 70. In an Evening Standard column during the series Bell admitted it was a role he was uncomfortable with, but Flower hinted it's one he will have to get used to.

"Ian Bell's job, or anyone else's job when they're picked for England, is to perform," Flower said. "Whether they're happy or not is by the by. They are given a job, and they have got to do it. He's had a tough series. He wasn't the only one - not everyone can succeed at the same time."

Flower, though, will hope that Bell's problems in the one-day arena don't impacted his prolific Test form of 2011 when he has averaged over 300. Thoughts now turn to the four-match series against India which starts on July 21 and the one-day success means England remain buoyant.

"It's always important to win, and we're always under pressure to do so when representing England," Flower said. "The bottom line is we did it, we didn't lose the series. It's a good confidence-builder for those guys that they held themselves so well under pressure."

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • wwechampsaad on July 11, 2011, 20:20 GMT

    i love the new england odi captain and his team will beat india mark my words

  • stormy16 on July 11, 2011, 19:48 GMT

    I reckon Cook proved alot of wrong (me included) and showed real qualities as a solid one day player and captain. I think he has done more than plenty for Eng to have real hopes of a future leader in all forms of the game. Bell for me has to open with Cook if Eng are to get the best out of him. Sure Kieswetter is good but Bell must either open or bat in Trotts spot. I think the time has come for Eng to look to other options for being a successfull one day unit and that's not going to happen with Cook, Trott and Bell in the top six the way do. Eng must look for a Sewag like player and Bell has the technique to do it. Ok there wont be another Sewag for all you fanatics but you get my point. Sure KP failed but he is too class an act to write off and must be given a chance.

  • vparisa on July 11, 2011, 19:17 GMT

    @Agha Hussain Akram "India's only weakness is their vulnerability on bowling pitches and their poor bowling. They can only really bowl well when the pitch has a lot of assistance". What are you saying mate? If its a batting pitch, we make lot of runs (true), if its a bowling pitch we keep winning(perth/joburg etc). How do you want the pitch to be? while India is batting, it should be seamer friendly and while bowing it should be a concrete Road? No one can make a pitch like that.. and my friend nothing gets handed over a platter. Indian team worked hard for this!! Dont take that away from these bunch!! you can say what ever you want to BCCI but the team really deserves to be no1

  • sgh142 on July 11, 2011, 13:52 GMT

    Ashes 61 good post, I too would give Bell the 4 spot but would go further and axe Pietersen. I would look to the next generation of batters and give them a run at 6.

    Pietersen gives nothing to the team but can devisive, and regularly is both on and off the pitch.

    Time for Flower to be the leader and not the led.

  • dummy4fb on July 11, 2011, 13:00 GMT

    dominant india will overcum d english men under d captainship of Mr Dhoni.. mark my words..

  • dummy4fb on July 11, 2011, 12:11 GMT

    India's only weakness is their vulnerability on bowling pitches and their poor bowling. They can only really bowl well when the pitch has a lot of assistance. Now, the Indian control of the ICC has led to them making sure every pitch in every country is suited to their gameplay. Hopefully, England will know this and not be over awed; India are by no means the type of world beaters Australia were, because India get everything fed to them on a platter.

  • dummy4fb on July 11, 2011, 11:53 GMT

    If Mr Cook wants to established himself, he has no option but to beat India in Forthcoming Series. Team India has great batting line up and some very accurate swing bowlers. It is not all that easy for mr Cook to overcome players like Sehwag, Gambhir,Sachin,Dhoni Raina, Virat, Yuvraj and some other very taleted and promising batsmen, On the other side Team India has bowlers like Zaheer,Munaf,Praveen, Ishant and srisanth have great commond over line and length. Their only concern is Spin department Where Harbhajan or Amit mishra are not in the same class of Swan. But we must remember that Dhoni has proved himself time and again, A Great Captain and very successful Motivator and very well knew how to get 100% from the players. So MR Cook, Bebare of Dhoni and his men.

  • dummy4fb on July 11, 2011, 8:46 GMT

    i think srilanka will lose to irelend also.....dilshan is out of form after injury, sangakkara not scoring runs at good strike rate, mahela is in good form but they still cannot decide whether to play him as a opener or middle order.

  • ashes61 on July 11, 2011, 8:45 GMT

    I'm beginning to think now we muck about with Bell at our peril. At long last we've had a terrific year or two out of him. He is not only our most technically proficient and easily our most attractive bat, he has been in form AND shown great example with his extremely unselfish approach when risks were required for the sake of the team, both in Australia and back here.

    Who do we really think has the better future now? Bell or KP? Who is now the least dispensable? Bell or KP? Whose style fits the No 6 position better? Bell's or KP's? And No 4? Bell or KP? Much as I'd like - as we all would - KP's consistent form to return, I'd switch them round. Both are capable of producing an 80 or 100 at No 4 at an acceptably brisk rate, but Bell is now much the more likely to do so in both ODIs and Tests. Yes, it may sometimes work against KP if he runs out of partners, and Bell won't always come off. But he is now by far the more likely to produce a solid, brisk knock at No 4.

  • dummy4fb on July 11, 2011, 7:55 GMT

    Alastair cook has done really well..and now he should go on like this against India too...because India is a very dangerous team especially in test..wining from them is not easier.........England have to do there best..like they did in 2006 to win the one day series also...in my idea england should bring owes shah in place Ian bell .....bell is a good batsman but in number 6..he should played in 3 or 4 with changing of trot and some times Kevin Petersen....and good luck england with a success against Indian... I wish you are be success in play ground....

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