Captain Cook will test us all - Flower

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Andy Flower spoke to ECBtv just days after arriving back from South Africa

Appointing an interim captain in Alastair Cook for England's forthcoming series in Bangladesh lays down a challenge to the entire touring party, believes team director Andy Flower.

Cook, 25, steps in as captain in place of Andrew Strauss for three one-day internationals and two Test matches in February and March, to allow the incumbent time to recuperate ahead of “18 months of solid, high pressure cricket.”

And in appointing a young captain, Flower suggests the England players and staff, himself included, will be asked new questions.

Flower told ECBtv: “This allows us the opportunity to give some captaincy experience to Cook, in an environment that is less pressurised than some.

“It will be interesting to see how the team reacts to a new, young captain, and I think that will be a challenge for all of us.

“But it’s also one that is very exciting for him and the team.”

Alastair Cook

Alastair Cook, celebrating his hundred in Durban, looked stronger in South Africa for his hard work with Graham Gooch

Flower added that Strauss’ workload since taking on the captaincy, at the start of a year that included a home Ashes series and a gruelling tour to South Africa, led to careful thinking about priorities.

“We were being proactive about managing his energy,” said Flower. “As England captain he has a lot of responsibility on his shoulders.

“He’s just come through a very busy summer period and a long, hard tour of South Africa. We want him to be fresh and in as good a frame of mind as possible. We see rest now as being important to him.”

Almost a week after flying back from South Africa, Flower was also able to reflect on one of the best series England have been involved with for many a year.

England’s 1-1 draw in the Test series, preceded by a 2-1 one-day international series victory, sees them now ranked fifth in both Test and ODI ICC rankings, with power to add, believes Flower.

“(I have) a mixture of pride at how well we fought for 10 weeks, and a little disappointment at ending the way we did,” he said.

“But if we look back at the results of the tour as a whole, where we won the one-day series, only the second side in South Africa’s history to do so, I think in time we will reflect on a reasonably successful tour.

“The team is improving, getting stronger and becoming more confident. We can see that very clearly in points terms, where we’re now ranked. And we intend to climb the rankings further.”

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