Alastair Cook and Trevor Bayliss on same page over tactics

England captain Alastair Cook, right, insists he and coach Trevor Bayliss, left, are in agreement over the style of batting required. Picture: Julian Finney/Getty Images

England captain Alastair Cook, right, insists he and coach Trevor Bayliss, left, are in agreement over the style of batting required. Picture: Julian Finney/Getty Images

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England captain Alastair Cook is determined to present a united front with coach Trevor Bayliss as they try to battle back from 2-0 down against India.

Cook, who confirmed Keaton Jennings will make his debut in the fourth Test as his latest opening partner but described Stuart Broad’s return from injury as “probably a 50/50 call”, was required too at his pre-match press conference to confirm he and Bayliss are still on the same page tactically.

It was after the second-Test defeat in Vizag that their statements did not entirely tally, Cook claiming his team had all “bought into” a commitment to all-out defence in pursuit of an unlikely draw while Bayliss was less dogmatic.

After the coach then spoke of his need to “step up” and deliver the message that a more pro-active approach will be necessary in Mumbai, following a second defeat in Mohali, Cook was inevitably asked if he concurred. He answered unequivocally “yes”.

“It wasn’t just Trevor saying it,” said Cook. “I was part of the conversation, and I agree. I think we play well when we have a bit of direction.”

Cook therefore could not have been surprised to read, while he and the majority of the squad were having a mid-series break in Dubai, that back at base camp the coach was publicly delivering a new rallying call on Monday.

“It was clearly a message I knew was coming out,” said the captain. We’d chatted at the end of that Mohali game, and I think it’s a very fair thing.

“As part of the leadership group, alongside Trevor and a couple of coaches, we sat down and discussed how we wanted to play and what had happened from our first game when we scored at three-and-half runs an over [in the draw] at Rajkot.”

Cook wonders, with hindsight, if the attempted blocking tactics in the second Test somehow muddled minds for the next match.

“It was a bit of a hangover, and we did go back into out shells a bit. So after chatting, I think it was a clear message we wanted to play a little bit more aggressively – with more intent.”

Cook will put that into action, if he wins the toss, with Jennings – flown in from Dubai, where the South Africa-born batsman marked his England Lions debut with a century.

It reminds Cook of his own first Test a decade ago in Nagpur where he made a maiden hundred in his second innings, after he too had been summoned from England A duty.

“It’s pretty similar to what happened with me, flying in 48 hours before the game,” he said, adding his first impressions of his fellow left-hander are already favourable.

“I’d never met him properly, so it’s probably been quite daunting for him in one sense. But he seems a really good guy. He’s got a great head on his shoulders, and mentally I think he’s a very strong player.”

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