Cook wants England to play positive cricket in remaining Tests
Mumbai [India], Dec. 7 (ANI): England skipper Alastair Cook believes his side, which is currently trailing 0-2 in the five-match series against India, need to go back to the first game played at Rajkot and be positive and come out with an aggressive intent in the remaining two matches.
Having drawn the first Test, the visitors suffered crushing defeats in Visakhapatnam and Mohali.
Speaking on the eve of the fourth match to be played at the Wankhede Stadium on Wednesday, Cook said, "It's a clear message which I knew was coming out [from Trevor Bayliss]. We sat down at the end of the Mohali game and discussed how we wanted to play. We chatted at the end of that game and it's a very fair thing as part of the leadership group alongside Trevor and a couple of coaches."
"Rajkot was our blueprint, we played really well there and we might have just slipped off a little bit in terms of that intent. Hopefully we can go back to that. It was just not Trevor saying," he added.
The left-handed batsman also confirmed that uncapped batsman Keaton Jennings will make his debut in Thursday's game.
"He (Keaton) is going to play. He's going to open the batting and another great opportunity for a guy to come in and play. He's in good touch, spending bit of time in the middle with the lions, getting hundreds and stuff," he said.
"It's pretty similar to what happened with me 10 years ago. I have never met him properly. He seems already a guy who's got a great head on his shoulders and mentally he's a very strong player. I wish him all the best."
Keaton, the South African-born son of former cricketer Ray Jennings, has been named in the Test squad to replace opener Haseeb Hameed, whose tour ended with a broken finger in Mohali Test.
"Obviously it's disappointing about Has (Hameed), we obviously found a player there. But if Keaton comes in and does well, it's just adding to our top-order players," Cook said.
The 31-year-old also reflected on injured pacer Stuart Broad's return, saying his chances of playing the crucial fourth match are 50:50.
In their last two Test meetings here at the Wankhede, England had prevailed over India and the 2012 Test match will always be remembered as one where maverick batsman Kevin Pietersen played perhaps one of the finest knocks by an overseas batsman on Indian soil. Speaking on the same, Cook said, "It's quite nice coming to a ground where we have good memories. Clearly doesn't count for much now. Mumbai has historically been a good ground for us. So hopefully we can play well."
The England skipper also heaped praise on the Indian fast bowlers, saying their "pace and control" is better than that of the previous lot he had faced, which included bowlers like Zaheer Khan.
"Certainly with their pace, their control has improved since the last time I have faced them. Kind of happens as people get better and better," he said.
"Zaheer Khan was one of the best bowlers I have ever faced with the swinging ball in England in 2007. He bowled beautifully and the skills he had with the swinging ball. For me to compare them is quite hard but they are certainly quicker than Zaheer," he added.
The Mumbai Test will begin after an eight-day gap after the third Test and Cook feels that this gap has done a world of good to the team.
"The holiday was worthwhile, of course. Certainly the guys do feel re-energisized, bit of a change of scenery. We had five days off in a long tour. Mentally and physically it has done the players a world of good," he said.
"People in the media and back home will only judge on how well we play. After those three games in three weeks it was good to get out and not really worry about cricket," he added.
Earlier in the day, Indian skipper Virat Kohli also said that the eight-day gap had benefitted the team.
"We did not ask for the gap. It was a part of the schedule. We will make sure when we go there we also get eight-day gap after three Tests and a 25-day gap between ODIs and Test series," Kohli said at the pre-match presser.
"Seeing the long season ahead, it did us no harm. We certainly benefitted from it. We will just visualise and come back even more fresh compared to the last two Test matches. So, it was a good thing to happen and we certainly benefited from it."
With an unassailable 2-0 lead after three Tests, the World No.1 team is brimming with confidence and they would like to regain the Anthony de Mello Trophy which they had lost to England side back in 2012.
Thus, tomorrow's match gives the hosts a chance to revenge for the two earlier defeats and also make the Chennai Test, scheduled to be held from December 16-20, inconsequential. (ANI)