Cook hits back at Atherton

Alastair Cook was criticized by former Eng captain Michael Atherton for his low scoring rate AFP

London: Jun 28, 2011

Alastair Cook, England’s new one-day captain, has responded to being dubbed a “plodder” by ex-England skipper Michael Atherton by saying “it takes one to know one”.

Cook was England’s star batsman during their Ashes triumph in Australia and was in the runs again during the recent 1-0 Test series win against Sri Lanka.But there have long been concerns as to whether he scores his runs at a fast-enough rate for the demands of limited overs cricket.

The left-handed opener has played just 26 one-day internationals in five years as an England cricketer and was omitted from the squad for this year’s World Cup in the sub-continent.But the retirement of Test skipper Andrew Strauss from the shorter format left England needing a new captain in the 50-over game and they also opted to make Stuart Broad their Twenty20 leader after dropping Paul Collingwood.

Now the hope is Cook, as Strauss did towards the end of his ODI career, can at last blossom as a one-day batsman as much as he has done at Test level.Cook has certainly long been viewed as a future England captain and led the side in both Tests and one-dayers when Struass was rested from last year’s tour of Bangladesh.

Cook, speaking on the eve of the first ODI against Sri Lanka at The Oval here on Tuesday, said: “As an international player you are always under pressure and you’ve always got to prove yourself

“I’m excited by that challenge and I think my one-day game has evolved,” added the 26-year-old Essex batsman, who in his 26 ODIs has scored 858 runs at an average of 33 with one hundred and five fifties.

“In Bangladesh I scored runs and I scored them quickly. I know I have the talent and the skills to do it. Every time I wasn’t playing Test cricket I went back to Essex to play one-day cricket. It’s part of the skill-set, you need to develop the ability to change your method.

“I’m nowhere near the finished article and as a 26-year-old I’ve got a lot of work to do, but I’m prepared to do it.”

As for Atherton’s comments labelling him a “plodder”, Cook replied: “It takes one to know one, I suppose.

“Everybody is entitled to their opinion. But I’ve scored a one-day hundred for England.

“I know I can score runs at the top of the order and I’m excited that I’m in a good place to go and show that.

“It doesn’t matter if it’s being ignored, I know I can score runs and score them quickly, I have my own style of doing it.”Cook added he’d taken heart from the climax of fellow left-hander and Test opening partner Strauss’s one-day career.

“I think Straussy’s a great example for me,” he said.

“When he first started playing one-day cricket I think he had a strike-rate of about 65, maybe 70. Towards the end his career strike-rate was up to 80.”You can evolve, you can improve and he certainly did that. Hopefully I can follow in his footsteps.”