Cricket

Cook ready for 'fresh start'

2014-06-11 21:00
Alastair Cook (AFP)

London - England captain Alastair Cook is set to face an intriguing examination of his leadership skills when a new-look side take the field against Sri Lanka in the first Test against Sri Lanka at Lord's on Thursday.

Following their 5-0 Ashes thrashing in Australia, England are set to field three debutants in Australia-born opener Sam Robson, Barbados-born all-rounder Chris Jordan and Moeen Ali, the batsman and off-spinner who, although of Pakistani descent, was born in Birmingham in the English Midlands.

Meanwhile the fall-out caused by Jonathan Trott's stress-related illness and Kevin Pietersen's banishment has led to Gary Ballance, on the back of one Test, being promoted to number three with the experienced Ian Bell taking over from Pietersen at four.

Add in the possibility that England are set to recall fast bowler Liam Plunkett after a seven-year absence and have brought back wicketkeeper Matt Prior, despite concerns over an Achilles injury, and it's easy to see how Cook, together with returning coach Peter Moores, has his hands full even before he's considered the strengths of the Sri Lanka side.

However, Cook said Wednesday: "It's been a pretty heavy load for every England captain. There are always different challenges."

Nevertheless, he added: "It feels like a fresh start. "I'm a pretty open guy, and people have had pretty good chats with me.

"They can walk up to me, rather than me walking up to them. All the newcomers will want to prove they are international players, and they deserve to be here.

"I've been impressed by these guys coming into the dressing room."

The series starts in the shadow of the 'Mankad' run out of England one-day wicketkeeper Jos Buttler but, for all the furore, Cook said he still respected Sri Lanka.

"They are incredibly competitive. I think they have always punched above their weight. It's in their character," Cook explained.

Cook said all-rounder Ben Stokes, coming back from injury, had been left out because "he's only bowled 30 odd overs, and when he bowled he was a bit rusty".

Yet he was happy to go with Prior, who was dropped during the Ashes, despite Australia great Shane Warne saying Wednesday that England had missed a trick in not giving a Test debut to Buttler.

"I've no doubt Jos is an exceptional talent who will play Test cricket for England," said Cook.

"But we've got a guy in Matt Prior who averages over 40 in his Test career.

"He's an outstanding batsman who had a tough six months. I'm backing his ability at the moment, and the quality we know he's got."

As for Plunkett, resurgent after moving from Durham to Yorkshire, Cook said: "I think he understands how to get the best out of himself -- he looks a different guy around the camp from the one I met in 2006.

"He's really relaxed, matured... and certainly knows his cricket.

"He's seen the other side. Life isn't that bad if you aren't in the England side, but he just wants to prove how good he is."

Read more on:    alastair cook  |  cricket
NEXT ON SPORT24X

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
  • Blitz
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @00:00
  • SS1
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @01:00
  • SS2
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @02:00
  • SS3
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @03:00
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

 

Your Winter Body Weight Workout

Cold weather does not mean you have to slack off on your workouts, here are some tips to stay fit in the winter.

 
 

Outdoor

The perks of power walking
Best ‘glamping' spots in the Western Cape
6 hiking routes you have to try
South African woman learns to surf at age 70
 
 
/Sport
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

SuperBru Super Rugby challenge

Enter and challenge Sport24's staff!

Featured

As the Absa Premiership nears the Christmas break, a little over half the season remains. Who will be crowned champions when all is said and done? Which teams will be relegated? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs
Vote

Should Proteas coach Russell Domingo stay - or go - as national coach?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.