Subcontinent will be the real test, says Cook

The Alastair Cook-led England wrapped up the five-match ODI series against India 3-0 Getty Images

By Ashish Shukla

Cardiff: Sep 17, 2011

England may have dominated India in the just-concluded series but ODI skipper Alastair Cook warns that the real test would be to repeat the performance when the side plays Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s men in their backyard next month.

England wrapped up the five-match ODI series 3-0 (one match rained out and another ending tied). A delighted Cook said he was happy with the progress his side has made in the one-day arena but was candid to admit that it would be quite challenge in the sub-continental conditions.

“We are going to need that over the next couple of months in the subcontinental conditions, where we haven’t played a huge amount of successful one-day cricket,” Cook said after the six-wicket win over India in the fifth and final ODI on Friday.

“Our learning curve is going to be steep, but I’m very confident in the players we’ve got. When we went to India last time (in 2008) we didn’t win a game, so that shows the challenge we have ahead of us in these next two months,” he added, referring to the five-match ODI series starting October 14 in Hyderabad.

Cook was overtly delighted at the discovery of a young talent in Jonny Bairstow who made his side’s difficult chase an easy one.

“What a way to make an international statement…I think we’ve just found a player. I don’t want to heap too much pressure on him. But to make your debut like that and go and play in such a controlled but such a positive way was incredible,” Cook said.

“Everyone, the lads in the dressing room, was saying we’ve just found one,” he added in appreciation of the debutant’s innings.

Bairstow made 41 from 21 balls with a four and three sixes and helped England chase down a difficult target of 241 in 34 overs with 10 balls still remaining.

“The batting line-up as a whole can take a lot of credit for that, and the way Jonny (Bairstow) and Ravi (Bopara) finished it off was spectacular. What we have done is started off on what we hope will be a very successful journey,” Cook said.

“With these young players coming in now – people like Jade, who’s made a mark, obviously Jonny, Ben Stokes – I’m very happy with how we’ve played in certain areas.”

As a batsman and captain, Cook believes he has made some steady progress.

“The last couple of games I don’t think I’ve played as well as I could have done. I think I’ve struggled a little bit with my timing.

“It always takes time for a new captain to come in and players to get used to your style. But we’ll call it a good start, and move on from there.”(PTI)