The first Test against India would be Alastair Cook’s maiden match as England’s Test skipper © Getty Images
Ahmedabad: Nov 14, 2012
Insisting that his team is well prepared for the four-Test series, England captain Alastair Cook on Wednesday said that the visitors would be looking to put India under pressure when the two sides meet in their opening match on Thursday.
“There is always a lot of pressure on the home team but one thing we’ve seen is that they have an excellent home record. History shows that they’ve coped with that over the years. Our job is to put them under pressure,” said Cook on the eve of the first Test.
“All through the tour we have said that we have wanted to get used to conditions. It is for the first time since I’ve been playing that we’ve had three practice games. We’d have liked to face more quality spinners but we can’t control that.
What we have had available, we’ve had some excellent bowlers in the nets,” added the left handed opener.
Cook also said that his side was ready for the trial by India’s spinners Ravichandran Ashwin and Pragyan Ojha, besides senior bowler Harbhajan Singh.
“We’re ready, that’s the reason why we came here three weeks in advance. You’re going to lose wickets no matter who is bowling, in any game, you can read what you want, but the proof of the pudding is in the eating. We can always deal with what is thrown at us,” said Cook.
Cook admitted that he would not be able to say for sure about the pitch prepared for the game.
“Wickets change a lot in 24 or 48 hours. Yesterday it looked quite dry and I’ve not had a look right now. The pitch has been re-laid and so there are not many statistics relevant to the wicket,” said the captain.
It is also Cook’s first Test as captain following the retirement of his long-time opening partner and skipper Andrew Strauss.
“I’m obviously excited, a little bit nervous but very proud to be leading. Whatever happens over the next Test match, I hope do a good job in the long run. I hope to get good results.
“I’ll do the best job I can. I won’t be doing anything different from what I’ve been doing in one-dayers. You can’t change who you are.”
Cook said the issues that the team had with top batsman Kevin Pietersen in the past is behind them now.
“As a captain it is great to have a world-class batsman like him in the team. He can change the game very quickly like he did in Colombo, win matches for us in a manner not many people in the world can do.
“The process, review or whatever you call it, in my eyes is finished. It is great to have Kev back and the whole side has adapted to the situation, to what has happened in the last two months. We’ve had to drive a line under it and we’ve moved on. What I don’t want to change is his confidence, his swagger when he bats because that’s what has made him such a great player. As a captain, that is what you want.”
Cook had a word of admiration for the return to Test cricket of Yuvraj Singh after his battle against a rare germ cell cancer between his lungs.
“(It’s an) Amazing achievement to come back. To have cancer and come back and play cricket again has been amazing, I’m glad that he’s back. I hope he does not score too many runs. Sometimes cricket has to take a backward step for things which are thrown at you in life.
“I don’t know Yuvraj that well but he clearly seems to have come back from his cancer with such amazing performances.
He got a double hundred two weeks ago (in the domestic Duleep Trophy competition). I don’t know how he handles it, but the way he has handled it has been amazing,” Cook said.