Alastair Cook said the loss in the ICC Champions Trophy 2013 final was his worst day as England captain © Getty Images
Birmingham: Jun 24, 2013
England captain Alastair Cook voiced confidence that his side can banish the pain of the ICC Champions Trophy 2013 final loss to India for their defence of the Ashes.
England, still to win a global One-Day International (ODI) title after what was their fifth defeat in a final, were 110 for four come the 18th over at Edgbaston on Sunday chasing 130 after World Cup holders India made 129 for seven in a match reduced by rain from 50 to 20 overs per side.
But Ishant Sharma took two wickets in two balls to remove Eoin Morgan (33) and Ravi Bopara (30) after they had rescued England from the depths of 46 for four with a stand of 64.
That started a collapse which saw four wickets lost for just three runs in eight balls, with tailender James Tredwell unable to hit the six off the final delivery of the match that would have given England victory.
However, while Cook — who said Sunday’s match was his worst day as England captain, is set to feature in the Ashes the likes of Morgan and Bopara are not Test regulars.
Meanwhile, star batsman Kevin Pietersen, who missed the Champions Trophy with a knee injury, was on course to return in the first Test against Australia at Trent Bridge on July 10 after marking his comeback on Sunday with 177 not out for Surrey in a County Championship match away to Yorkshire.
Before the Ashes start, England also have a warm-up fixture against Essex — Cook’s county — and the captain said: “Yeah, I think, clearly it will take a couple of days. All the guys have a few days off and we’ll have to use that. It’s been a pretty hectic start to the summer.
“It’s only going to get obviously busier and busier. So we have to recharge our batteries as well,” the opening batsman added.
“It’s always a different feeling, different kit and stuff. Clearly the Ashes is here, we’ll have to prepare ourselves for the Essex game to make sure we hit the ground running at Trent Bridge,” said Cook, speaking before reports emerged in the early hours of Monday morning UK time that Australia had taken the sensational step of sacking coach Mickey Arthur.
England, with Cook’s Essex colleague Bopara taking three for 20 with his medium-pacers, appeared to have done the hard part in holding India to a relatively modest score.
But against a well-balanced India attack, in which man-of-the-match Ravindra Jadeja (33 not out and two for 24) and fellow spinner Ravichandran Ashwin (two for 15) starred, England, who needed 20 to win off the final 16 balls with six wickets standing, came up agonisingly short.
“Clearly from there you would back yourself to win more times than you would lose in that situation, but it shows how quickly games can change in Twenty20 when you lose a couple of wickets,” said Cook.
“Towards the end, when it’s spinning as much as that, it’s very hard for the new guys coming in. They were always going to find it quite hard to hit those runs.
“It’s a tough pill to swallow at the moment. We had high hopes coming into today [Sunday] of achieving something very special.
“Credit to India. I thought they bowled very well on that wicket,” opener Cook, out for two on Sunday, said.
Although England were the tournament hosts and home side on Sunday, the capacity crowd at Edgbaston in Birmingham — which boasts one of the largest Asian populations of any British city — was vociferously in favour of India.
“There were quite a lot of Indians there today [Sunday], but we kind of expected that. That’s no excuse why we lost,” insisted Cook.