Cricket: Alastair Cook expects lessons to be learned for ODI series
ENGLAND urgently need to arrest a sequence of nine defeats in their last 10 international matches against in-form Pakistan today.
Alastair Cook’s second away series as permanent one-day international captain will be a major test of his and his team’s credentials, in alien conditions – and he makes no apology for spelling out exactly what he expects of them.
England’s first subcontinental attempt in the era of Cook’s leadership could scarcely have gone any worse, ending in an unexpected 5-0 whitewash in India four months ago.
He does not condemn them for that alone, but makes it clear there will be no such tolerance if it appears lessons have not been learned from those failures in this four-match series.
“One of the things we said at the time was we tried as hard as we could and we came up quite a long way short again against India,” he said.
“There’s no shame in that, but there will be a shame if we don’t learn individually from that and where we need to take our game. I hope people have done that.”
England began their Indian misadventure in October in a near-euphoric state, having just added an ODI series victory over those same opponents to the 4-0 Test success which took them to the top of the International Cricket Council rankings last summer.
Current circumstances are astoundingly different, given such a short intervening passage of time, as England try to put behind them not only that 5-0 ODI drubbing but a shock 3-0 Test whitewash here against Pakistan over the past month.
“The Tests didn’t go to plan, and we didn’t play very well,” said Cook. “But it’s a new format, and the squad has introduced six new faces. It’s brought a freshness and enthusiasm to the squad.”
Another area of optimism for Cook is his new opening partnership with Kevin Pietersen, following the latter’s return to the top of the order.
Pietersen first tried his luck opening at last year’s World Cup and the signs were encouraging but far from conclusive, until he had to fly home with a hernia injury.
It is more than three years since he made the last of his seven ODI hundreds. But Cook was enthused by his latest attempt at opening in Friday’s victory over England Lions at the Zayed Stadium – which is also the venue for today’s match – and he senses even the Pakistani spinners who confounded the tourists so unerringly in the Test series may be vulnerable to Pietersen.
Said Cook: “It’s a new challenge for KP – he did it a little bit in India, for a couple of games at the World Cup before he was injured, and he showed signs of promise.
“He’s excited about it; I’m excited about it – and when he’s in full flow in the powerplay it’s going to be hard to stop him.
“KP is unique in his own way and he’s certainly got the class – he averages 50 in Test cricket and 40 in ODIs.
“He’s a world-class player, and to make the most of those first 10 overs with two new balls you need a world-class player with a world-class technique – and he’s got the power.”
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Weather for Edinburgh
Friday 24 May 2013
Temperature: 2 C to 12 C
Wind Speed: 21 mph
Wind direction: North east
Temperature: 5 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 13 mph
Wind direction: West