Image courtesy of: Zimbio
England opener Alastair Cook has admitted that “Test futures are on the line” if certain players fail to turn their fortunes around in the second Test against Pakistan at Headingley.
England will go into the match trailing 1-0 in the series as Pakistan triumphed by nine wickets in the first Test at Lord’s.
Cook admitted that his side are “not playing well” as they have failed to secure a win in their last eight Tests, but he called on his side to “stick together” and play to the best of their abilities to try and win the second Test and end the series as a 1-1 draw.
“We need to play better,” Cook, who will break Allan Border’s all-time record for the most consecutive Tests played when he steps out onto the field on Friday, wrote in his column for Sky Sports. “Test futures are on the line.
“It’s never great when you lose, even more so playing the way we did at Lord’s. It’s a frustrating time for us at the moment as a side; we’re not playing well.
“If you want to play cricket for England, you’ve got to deliver, otherwise we’ll be looking for other employment. That’s the nature of the beast and, fundamentally, we’re not producing out in the middle.
“But we have to stick together as a group. The last thing you can do is play the blame game, and the trick is now to not carry the negatives from the first Test with us to Headingley.
“Again, that’s another thing easier said than done. But clearly we are not going to lose every game of cricket ever, it is going to turn around at some stage, and it’s down to us to do that.”
Cook will reunite with one of his former opening partners in Keaton Jennings for the second Test as England decided to drop Mark Stoneman due to his disappointing performances as of late.
“It’s tough on Mark Stoneman,” Cook wrote. “It’s horrible. Playing for England is these guys’ dreams, so it’s not nice seeing people dropped. I spoke to him on Monday; he was obviously disappointed, as you’d expect, but he has to now go away, score runs and look at areas in which he can improve his game.
“It gives Keaton a great opportunity, and we just need people to grab these opportunities with both hands and to start pushing this side forward, like Jos Buttler and Dom Bess – on debut – did at Lord’s.
“He is a very level-headed guy and seems very suited to Test level, in terms of his mental approach. He got a hundred on debut, which shows he can play, but then against a good South African side last summer things just didn’t quite go his way.”