England cricket team
England started the Test series as the favourites (AFP Photo)

Batting legend Alastair Cook reckons England‘s choice to prepare for the Test series was behind their poor show in the Barbados Test that West Indies went on to win by 381 runs.

The tourists suffered a stunning collapse that saw them being bowled out for a mere 77 in reply to WI’s first innings total 289- all out. A double-century from Jason Holder set England a massive target of 628 runs to win and they managed 246.

“Fail to prepare and you prepare to fail,” Cook wrote in his column for the Sunday Times. “That has become a cliché in sport but overuse does not erode its essential truth. Look at England over four days in Bridgetown. They didn’t have their fighting edge, and that is not surprising when you consider their pre-Test schedule.”

Ahead of the first Test, England turned down West Indies’ request to play a first-class match and instead went for two two-day warm-up matches.
“I know what it’s like at the start of a tour. Physically, you might feel a bit tired by the end of the first week after the fitness training and nets, but mentally you’re relaxed. It’s imperative that you then undergo proper competition … England did not get that. However hard they tried in the two warm-up games, those fixtures added up to less of an experience than four-day first-class cricket would have offered,” he wrote.

Cook, who retired last year in September with a memorable century against India in his final Test innings, has backed Joe Root’s men to make a comeback in the second Test which starts from Thursday.

“At the bare minimum, they should have had a two-day game in which 15 players were used … followed by a four-day match featuring the probable Test XI. If they weren’t match hardened before, they will be now. This side has a history of bouncing back,” Cook said.