Alastair Cook scored the last of his England record 25 Test hundreds more than a year ago © Getty Images
Alastair Cook scored the last of his England record 25 Test hundreds more than a year ago © Getty Images

 

By Julian Guyer

 

London: Jul 2, 2014

 

England national selector James Whitaker has back Alastair Cook ahead of the five-match Test series against India. Cook, despite a barrage of criticism over his tactics during Sri Lanka’s 100-run second Test win at Headingley last week and concerns over his own form, retained the England captaincy.

 

Although it’s now more than a year since Cook scored the last of his England record 25 Test hundreds, Whitaker was confident he would come good again soon.

 

“He’s a fine, fine leader. He’s scored 30 international hundreds, over 11,000 runs and he’s a quality player going through a period where he’s struggling to get beyond 20-25. He’s got our full backing and we’ll all clap our hands when that [turn in form] does happen.”

 

England in the absence of retired off-spinner Graeme Swann, again entrusted slow bowling duties to Moeen Ali, primarily a batsman who scored a maiden century in only his second Test at Headingley. Ali took three wickets in the Sri Lanka series but Cook seemed reluctant to use him, thereby increasing the workload on his seamers.

 

And with the five Tests against India set to take place within the space of just 42 days, a lack of overs from Ali and occasional spinner Joe Root threatens to run the risk of one of England’s quicker bowlers breaking down and so reduce their chances of a morale-boosting series win.

 

“Ever since Graeme Swann stood down… we knew we had to rebalance the team, look at different options for the summer and beyond,” Whitaker said.

 

“We think we’ve got a good balance now for the type of wickets we play on in England. Moeen will help the spin department and so will Joe Root. It’s a different way of balancing the team…We have faith in Moeen and think he’ll perform well.”

 

Catch all the stories from India’s tour of England 2014 here