Cook: I can improve as a captain
Alastair Cook may have ended his stint as stand-in England captain with a 100% record and two Test centuries, but the experience has left him desperate to improve as a leader.
Cook was selected to lead the Test and one-day sides in Bangladesh with Andrew Strauss not touring, and the opener duly delivered whitewashes in both series.
The 25-year-old's own form has flourished along the way, a fact underlined by today's innings of 109 not out which sealed a nine-wicket win in the second Test.
But Cook, for one, is aware that there are lessons to be learned.
“I couldn’t have asked for anything more on the tour. We were expected to win 3-0 and 2-0 and we have,” he said.
“It’s been a lot of hard work and a lot of credit goes to Bangladesh for the way they’ve made us work, especially in the last 10 days, and it’s a very satisfying feeling.
“But the captaincy had its moments. I now know how I need to get better as a captain, especially with my leadership in the dressing room.
“Areas like that I need to work on. I couldn’t have asked for any more support from the players and coaches and I can now go back, speak to a few people and get the best out of myself as a captain.
“There are a lot of things (to improve). I didn’t really know what would happen as a captain so there were eye-openers, but they will have to stay private for me to develop as a captain.”
While Cook must be content with the number of runs he has amassed while in charge of the side - 157 runs at 52 in the ODI campaign and 342 runs at 114 across both Tests - he is happy to be heading back to the ranks for the time being.
“One aspect that’s really pleased me is how I’ve dealt with batting while captaining,” he said. “When I’ve batted, I’ve been able to really concentrate on that.
“But I’ve come in here for five weeks only to be as good a captain as I can be and I’m glad Straussy is coming back.”
England's itinerary next takes in the World Twenty20 followed by home assignments against Bangladesh, Australia and Pakistan. But Cook was asked if they could take anything from this series ahead of next winter's Ashes.
England's next overseas Test will be the opening match of their Ashes defence at the Gabba in November.
He said: "I think (this has) done us a world of good. We've had to work for our results here.
"Bowling in Australia will be different to bowling on the sub-continent but for the side to come here, under expectation to win, and deliver when it matters in hard conditions, in terms of heat and flat wickets, can only bode well when it comes to playing in Australia."
England team director Andy Flower was delighted with the performance of his skipper.
“I think the opportunity that was taken to expose him to that sort of experience was very valuable,” said Flower. “He’s grown every day.
"He’s feeling a lot more comfortable about leading. He’s leading with a bat in his hand, in very attacking fashion. And he’s made some really good decisions out in the field. All in all I think he’s done brilliantly.”
Flower knows there is plenty of work still to do ahead of the Ashes defence in Australia but declared himself satisfied with the tour efforts.
“This was a very valuable exercise,” he said. “We had a 10-week tour of South Africa before this. To beat them in the one-day series before this was a great effort. To come out here with different pressure and expectations, we’ve done well.
“There’s a long way to go before we can say we’re the finished article. We might never say that because there are a lot of improvements we have to make.”
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