Cook predicts leaders to emerge
Stand-in captain Alastair Cook says the England squad are fully supportive of Andrew Strauss’ decision to skip the forthcoming tour to Bangladesh.
England fly to Dubai tomorrow for two Twenty20 internationals against Pakistan, a trip Strauss would have missed anyway as he no longer plays the shortest form of the game, but he has also decided to miss the subsequent tour of Bangladesh.
Cook, 25, who will lead England’s Test and one-day sides on the trip, believes it was a decision made in the interests of English cricket.
“It’s a decision he hasn’t taken lightly at all,” said Cook as he started his captaincy with a pre-tour media briefing at Lord’s.
“There’s a huge amount of time and effort that has gone into that decision and it’s a proactive move for him.
“He’s looking ahead to what is a huge period for us over the next 18 months with the Ashes and the World Cup.
“He’s decided he needs a break so he is fully refreshed and we are fully backing that decision. It gives opportunities for other players to step in and it gets a few more people used to international cricket.
“The amount of effort he and (team director) Andy Flower have put in over the last 12 months has taken a bit of a toll on him and he needs this break so he can have a full burst leading the side forward.”
Cook is relishing the chance to lead the side, having previously skippered England Under-19s in Bangladesh.
Although keen to downplay any status as the heir apparent, Cook does believe his experiences in charge of the team can benefit Strauss upon his return.
“I’m looking at this as a six-week block and not looking too far ahead,” said the left-hander.
“I’m very excited by the challenge and slightly nervous as well, but it’s a great opportunity for me to learn about the role and give a good account of myself.
“Hopefully it will benefit me as a person and a cricketer.
"Creating more leaders in the English side will help Straussy when he comes back too, but to lead out my country will be thrilling and I will give it my all for six weeks.
“There have been a lot of phone calls to Andy Flower talking through our tactics and where we want this side to go.
“The Ashes and the two World Cups are our main priorities and this is a stepping stone of learning for this side on the sub-continent. It’s a hugely important tour for us to do well in.”
Although Cook has plenty of experienced counsel both in his squad and on the sidelines, he fully intends on developing his own style of leadership.
“I speak a lot to Graham Gooch and know Andy Flower very well from my days playing with him and we have a very good relationship," he said.
“But ultimately I need to be my own man and need to get my ideas out there as well.
“He (Strauss) will be on the end of the phone if I want to chat to him too but we have a lot of experience in the squad.
“If you try to be something you’re not it’s very hard to keep that up and I’m definitely going to do it my way.”