Cook puts positive spin on county game
Alastair Cook highlighted the value of time spent in county cricket, having seen England’s spinners trouble India this winter.
Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar, the spin twins behind the 2-1 Test triumph, and James Tredwell, who turned the first one-day international in England’s favour, all have considerable county experience.
Swann and Panesar shared 37 wickets in the Test victory before man-of-the-match Tredwell took an international-best 4-44 in Friday’s nine-run win at Rajkot.
Ahead of tomorrow’s second ODI of five, at Kochi, Cook refuted the suggestion that England’s spinners are out-performing India’s yet explained his respect for the county game.
“I wouldn’t say that, but obviously our spinners have done well,” he said.
“In the Test match series we bowled very well. Monty and Swanny proved what quality bowlers they are and in that first one-dayer we had Tredders, who has been around a while and he has been doing that for years.
“It just proves that that experience you gain in county cricket can bode well in international cricket. But we’ve played one game in this series.
“Let’s not get too carried away. We enjoyed the other night because we won. But it’s a game of fine margins. We are going to have to do the same in the remaining games.”
In tandem with Tredwell, ODI debutant Joe Root slowed India’s fast start in pursuit of 326. Although his last two overs went for 23 runs, the occasional off-spinner’s other seven cost just 28.
“I thought Joe did really well, coming in. I think he bowled the 12th over and he bowled nine overs,” Cook added.
“It was only the last couple of overs went for some big runs. But I thought the way he handled the pressure was fantastic.”
Cook, leading a side that before Friday had failed to win in 13 ODIs in India, remains wary of the hosts’ threat.
“There a world-class side in these conditions. That’s why the stats say it’s so hard for us to win here,” he said. “We’re prepared for that and, as I said, we’re going to have to up our skills and our standard of performance if we want to win this game.
“We have to keep looking forward now. I don’t think it’ll down to too much captaincy. I think it’s down to the 11 players on either side, which of the players stand up in certain games in certain situations.
“We had some stand-out performances by pretty much all of our players at certain times and we’ll need that against high-quality opposition. I think I said before the series we need players to stand up and be counted. We did that quite well.”
India opening batsman Gautam Gambhir, who hit 52 in Rajkot, is still taking encouragement from the last one-day series between the teams - in October 2011.
“England have done well but we can’t forget last time they were here they lost 5-0,” he said.
“We don’t need to look at what England are doing, it’s about what we want to do out there.
“We’re a team who has done very well in one-day cricket as well. We’re the number three side in the world and we need to look at the areas where we have strength and minimise the weaknesses.
“It is a new start, a new game. Rather than take what happened last game we want to go out there as if it was a four-match series rather than think we are 1-0 down.”