New-look Cook appeals to Miller
National Selector Geoff Cook chatted to ECBtv after announcing the Test and ODI squads
Alastair Cook has demonstrated the ability to turn himself into a dominant one-day player in his time away with Essex, says ECB national selector Geoff Miller.
Cook, 24, has not missed a Test for England since the third match of the 2005-06 tour to India, the series in which he made his international debut, and has been named Test vice-captain to Andrew Strauss.
But on his recall to the squad for the limited-overs series in South Africa which precedes the Test series, the Essex opener has just 28 intermittent one-day internationals to his name.
“It’s the first time in a while he’s had a chance to go back to Essex and concentrate on a one-day technique,” Miller told ECBtv at Lord’s, on the day England announced their squads for the tour.
“Importantly, he’s a strong and bright enough character to differentiate between the Test and one-day game.”
Prior to the Ashes series, Cook struck an unbeaten 100 as the Eagles hammered Surrey in a Twenty20 Cup match.
And after a testing time at the hands of Australia, Cook was omitted for the NatWest Series of Twenty20 and 50-over matches. He used the time away to his best advantage, hitting back-to-back knocks of 104 in the NatWest Pro40.
Cook’s recall, along with a call-up for the prolific Warwickshire batsman Jonathan Trott, means that Ravi Bopara and Owais Shah lose their places in a 16-man squad.
But Miller says Bopara, a revelation against West Indies, needs only to go and work on the frailties exposed by Australia this summer.
“Lots of quality players have come through this,” explained Miller. “They’ve done well and then come to a stumbling block.
“I know the talent and quality of Ravi Bopara. He go and redevelop his game and come back. We can’t afford to lose that kind of quality. We’ll do all we possibly can to help him come back.
“I’m sure Owais will be disappointed. He’s showed what he’s capable of in the innings against South Africa (in the ICC Champions Trophy), but unfortunately for him it’s not been consistent enough.”
England play two Pro20 international matches on November 13 and 15, before the five-match MTN ODI series starts on November 20.
The four-match Castle Test series then begins at SuperSport Park, Centurion, on December 16.