Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
England captain Alastair Cook has announced that he is fully focused on regaining his form and trying to win the third Test against India in Southampton.
Cook’s comments come after former England batsman Kevin Pietersen said that he was still captaining the national team due to the “politics” of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).
“It would be much nicer if they were saying nice things about me,” Cook said. “They have been through it themselves. Does it affect me? I’m quite a strong-willed guy who doesn’t take much notice really of the media. I’ve got to concentrate on myself in these next five days and not what people are saying from the commentary box.
“I’ve got to stay true to myself and say how good it would be I can come through this as a person, as a player, as a leader. Every guy (in the squad) I have spoken to has (supported me). Unless they are lying to their face…”
Cook also admitted that England’s 95-run loss to India in the second Test at Lord’s was a bitter pill to swallow.
“It was a tough Test match at Lord’s,” he said. “A couple of days away have been quite nice. When you are away from the bubble you can’t say it’s that tough, certainly compared with what I experienced in Australia for the whole tour.
“The good news is that in a five-match series you have got time to bounce back. You get judged at the end of the series.
“I’m desperate to carry on because I love being England captain. It’s a huge honour and when I first took the job I wanted to throw everything into it. Until that time where I don’t feel I can carry on doing it or someone taps me on the shoulder then that’s what I’m going to do.
“It’s been a tough summer. The frustrating thing is that we’ve been getting ourselves in situations where we’ve been ahead of the game but haven’t been able to force the result. So we must be doing a lot of things really well. But in the crucial sessions where we’ve needed to stamp our authority, we haven’t done it.”
Many pundits and former players have attributed the burden of being England captain to Cook’s scoring drought.
“At the beginning (of my captaincy) when it was going well everyone said it helped my batting,” Cook said. “Now it’s not going so well everyone is saying it’s not helping my batting. I don’t know. It’s incredibly frustrating because first and foremost you are there as a batter. You are there to score runs at the top of the order. I’ve done that throughout my career. But in the last year or so I haven’t done that.
“That’s a concern for me because it’s my bread and butter. That’s what I’ve loved doing playing for England, setting up games for England to win. History suggests that when I score runs England have a good chance of winning.
“There is nothing worse than when you don’t score runs and you walk back in feeling like you have let the other 10 guys down because that’s your job, first and foremost.
“I’m putting in the hard yards and sometimes you feel you are not getting the rewards. That’s why it is such a hard game. That’s why it’s called Test cricket. Nothing will give me more satisfaction than if I pull through and score runs because I know how much effort, blood sweat and tears have gone into it.
“The last two or three weeks with my batting – I know it’s just a net and I know it counts for nothing – the ball has been coming out of the middle of the bat. At Lord’s, the two mistakes I made I got out. To me, I’m not [that] far away. But everyone will laugh until the results come.”