England cricket captain Alastair Cook has said there is no quick fix to tackle spin bowling: “Gooch (Graham) sent me to India when I was 19. It’s never a single fix; it’s a gradual process to play spin in the sub-continent. I made my Test debut in India. I feel I have the experience to pass it on to the younger players. I have a fairly decent record here as well.
“If we have to win this series all of us will have to stand up and score runs. We always try and win these warm up games; these are first class games.
“The idea is always to get as much game-time into our players so that they are ready for the first Test,” said Cook on the eve of the match against India ‘A’ at the Brabourne Stadium, Cricket Club of India on Monday.
Cook and the England team Director Andy Flower said the team got a great start for three days in Dubai, that Kevin Pietersen is desperate to get going and he will bat at No. 4 against India ‘A’, Stuart Broad will be the vice-captain and that they will try to change history that indicates that England has not won a Test series in India since the 1984-85 tour under David Gower’s captaincy.
Excerpts of Cook’s media interaction:
Playing in India: India is a great place to play cricket. We can’t wait for the game to start on Tuesday and get ready for the first Test in two-and-a-half week’s time. It’s a huge challenge to change things here. History suggests how hard it is for an English side to win in the sub-continent.
On Kevin Pietersen: We landed this morning and since it’s been a day of recovery. We have seen Kevin, he’s desperate to get going and we are desperate to have him back in the team. It’s always great to have world class players in the team. He’s played a huge amount of cricket, a lot in the sub-continent and in the IPL and that experience will be invaluable for us.
Absence of Andrew Strauss: That will be one of the big changes. It will be strange for me to walk out and bat for England without Strauss. It was a pleasure to bat with him and it was great to know such a familiar face at the other end.
Presence of Gooch and Flower: That’s why we have maximum coaching staff; there’s lot of experience in former world class cricketers. Gooch has done some huge amount of work for me and Andy as well. I started batting with Andy when I was 18 or 19. As captain and coach we have a strong relationship and base to work together and push this England side and get some good results.
Absence of a specialist spinner in the India ‘A’ team: We have no right to select the India ‘A’ team; it’s not in our control. There’s Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina in the team for spin.
On the Indian team: Both sides have world class players. It’s going to be a fantastic series to watch. Whichever team uses the conditions better will win the series.
Flower on Pietersen: It takes a little while to get back into your rhythm and into top form. But he’s an amazing cricketer. Playing T20 cricket (in the CLT20 league) he might have been a tad rusty playing his first few innings.
But he scored a good 50 in the semifinal and with a couple of knocks in the preparatory games for the Test series I am sure he will be fine.