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England head coach Peter Moores has backed captain Alastair Cook to “come through strongly” after he struggled with the bat yet again during the first Test against India in Nottingham.
Even though England only batted for one innings, Cook made five runs on a pitch that was supposed to be a batsman’s paradise.
“It is a tough time when you are not getting runs,” Moores said. “But Alastair is a tough player, as he has shown throughout his career.
“It is a five-match series, and in a five-match series I expect Alastair to come through strongly – because he is a top-flight player. He has to stay strong.”
Moores also noted that Cook was unlucky when the ball flicked his pad and crashed into leg stump off the bowling of Mohammed Shami.
“It was an extraordinary dismissal. It happens in cricket – you maybe get one in a career, two if you are unlucky,” he said. “To get one when you desperately need a score is tough. I hope that’s the end of it for him now, and he gets a few breaks.
“He has been through this situation before, and that is what makes great Test players – they can ride through it and come back strong, He will be very keen to put his mark on Lord’s.”
However, despite his struggles, Moores admitted that he was impressed with Cook’s captaincy and calm demeanour.
“What I have been impressed with Alastair is that during a really tough time for him, I think he has grown rapidly as a captain and person around the team,” he said. “I thought his captaincy in Nottingham was exceptional, in a tough game.
“It was challenging, but I think he made a lot of right decisions at the right time.”
Cook is also under pressure to find a new frontline spinner ahead of the second Test at Lord’s, but it is likely that he will stick with all-rounder Moeen Ali, who actually excelled with the ball in the first Test.
“It is difficult to bowl sides out on surfaces like that, and if we have more of them we will need a spinner to open sides up,” Moores said. “Mo spins the ball hard, but we know he is not as experienced as a frontline spinner.”
However, there is a chance that Simon Kerrigan will be included in the squad for the second Test after he was called up.
“He had a tough debut, yes,” Moores said. “He has worked extremely hard to get himself where he wants to be. He is a very talented bowler, a very talented young man.
“It is pretty well-known we are looking to try and identify who will be the spinner for the future.
“Simon has got a chance in the squad, and to be that spinner if he gets selected for the match.”
Moores added that it will be extremely frustrating if the pitch at Lord’s ends up being similar to the one in Nottingham.
“If it is a wicket with bounce in it, we back ourselves,” he said. “We will ask for what we want – pace and bounce – and we’ll pitch up and hope to get what we regard as a good cricket wicket.”