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“It hasn’t changed since the summer and we don’t expect it to change over the next couple of months”
England captain Alastair Cook has dismissed former Australia spin king Shane Warne’s comments about him being “negative, boring [and] not very imaginative” as “old news”, despite admitting that there are times when he could be more “imaginative”.
However, Cook stated that he would allow his captaincy record to do the talking as England have only lost one Test match and won nine under the 28-year-old.
In November 2012, Cook became the first English captain to lead the national team to victory in a Test series against India on their home soil in 28 years.
However, his most recent achievement came in August this year, when his side demolished arch-rivals Australia 3-0 in the Ashes series.
“It doesn’t seem times have changed at all since last summer,” Cook said. “It’s old news, we had pretty good results in the summer as well. It’s not surprising, being Australian, trying to get into the England camp, I think everyone can see that. It is what happens when England play Australia. It hasn’t changed since the summer and we don’t expect it to change over the next couple of months.
“I’ve always said I’m trying to learn on the job from experience and there will be times where I could be slightly more imaginative and think slightly differently if the situation arises.
“We’ve had a pretty good run so far as a Test side. In my first year as a Test captain we’ve won away in India which wasn’t done for a long time, won a series against Australia and I think those are things we can be very proud of as a side.
“I keep saying it, it’s all about results. In sport it is pretty black and white. In cricket you can draw but most of the time in sport you win or lose and luckily at the moment with the players we’ve got we’ve done quite a lot of winning and that’s what it’s about, the now, how we are preparing for another big challenge, winning in Australia.”
While Cook conceded that it was hard not to be affected by Warne’s comments, he stated that he would try to push it to the back of his mind and focus on leading England to their fourth Ashes win in a row, a feat which has not been accomplished since the 1890s.
“One of the skills you need as an international cricketer compared to being just a county player is having to deal with this situation,” Cook said. “There is a lot more interest in what’s going on and how you handle yourself is whether you make the grade or not and over a long period of time I think I have handled it pretty well. When someone makes a comment about you it does change your blood pressure slightly. No-one in the world can say it doesn’t but I’m pretty confident and pretty skillful at being able to handle it because over the past seven years I have done it pretty well.
“At the end of the day results are the most important things. That’s how your judged pretty much as a captain. There’s two sides of it, the man management side of it, back in the dressing room, back at the hotel, how you handle certain individuals, and there’s what happens on the field as well. That’s the very public bit of captaincy.”
Cook also noted that he will be trying to replicate the 766 runs he scored at an incredible average of 127.66 when he last toured Australia for an Ashes series in 2010-11.
“It’s nice coming to a country where you have scored a lot of runs in the past, it doesn’t count for anything now though,” Cook said. “Any batter knows if you walk around a ground where you have scored runs in the past it gives you a better feeling than not scoring runs. You always have to prove yourself as a batter. There’s always someone saying last time he didn’t score runs. Situations don’t change. The difference is probably that I’m now responsible for the team.”
When asked about how his back injury was progressing, Cook said: “The back’s coming along nicely. It’s obviously probably a mixture of the long flight and then doing quite a bit of hard training straightaway. It’s not a great combination for a guy with a bit of a dodgy back.
“But I’m very proud of my fitness record in terms of the number of consecutive games I’ve played for England. I feel as if I’m right back there.”
Cook is now looking forward to the two four-day games coming up after missing the first warm-up match against Western Australia due to his back injury.
“I would have liked to have spent some time in the middle (already) – you don’t know what’s going to happen in these two games, and every opportunity you get the chance to spend some time you try to take,” he said. “That’s a little bit frustrating, but we’ve got two four-day games now.”