FULL INTERVIEW: Alastair Cook on England, KP, Trott and World Cup

Alastair Cook spoke frankly to cricketbadger.com this morning in Abu Dhabi as he joined the MCC side to play in the Emirates Airline T20 on Friday and the Champion County game against Yorkshire next week.

Our CWC 2015 coverage is brought to you in association with Honey Badger Cricket – look no further for a top quality cricket bat!

Our coverage of pre-season in the UAE is brought to you in association with Honey Badger Cricket – look no further for a top quality cricket bat!

How has your break from cricket been – looking forward to playing again?

“Training’s been good at home with Essex in our marquee, and I’m looking forward to this trip. It’s great to be part of this MCC side, playing with some lads I’ve never played with before. Playing in the same side as Yuvraj on Friday will be interesting because I’ve played a lot against him.

“It’s been a longer break than I anticipated. Every cloud has a silver lining I guess in that I’ve been at home and had the chance to spend time with my young family, but obviously there’s disappointment on the other side. I’m ready to go again.

“You’re always itching to get going. I’ve seen over the last two or three months how things can change very quickly. Playing for England means so much, so you want to do it as much as you can.

“The time difference hasn’t made it that easy for anybody to watch if you’re being totally honest, but clearly you are following what’s going on. In terms of watching the World Cup, I haven’t watched that much of it. It’s quite tricky when it starts at 11pm and finishes at 7am in the morning.”

Will the poor England performance in the World Cup affect the West Indies tour?

I don’t think they will (said with plenty of hesitation in his voice). Clearly English cricket got itself in a position at the end of last summer by beating India 3-1, winning three Tests back-to-back. We got a bit of that feel good factor back.

“What’s happened this winter, the fans will be feeling disappointed, and there’s a bit of doom and gloom about English cricket.

“We’ve got the responsibility as a Test side, a different format, to go out and try and change that and start turning it around again. That is the challenge we’ve got.

“We built that momentum a little bit after the Ashes 14 or 15 months ago with a slightly younger side, including the likes of Gary Ballance and Joe Root. There was a good feel good factor about the English game in the middle of August after the Test matches. Since then, it’s been tough going. We’ve got to rebuild again.”

Has the World Cup shattered momentum as the Test side was in good shape?

It was in a good place. I wouldn’t say all of it has been, but a hell of a lot of it has been.

“You have to remember that it is a different format and you get a change, but all teams are grouped under the same English cricket umbrella, and we can’t be naive enough to think that it’s not. We have a repairing job to do, and the only way of doing that is by playing some good cricket and to start winning.”

How difficult will it be for World Cup players to refocus for West Indies tour?

“I think they’ll be pretty sick of the coloured clothing and all of the stuff that’s gone with that. The change of format always gives people a fresh impetus. I know what it’s like. If you’ve lost a Test series and you’re playing a one-day series, you think ‘ah, I’m free from the shackles and can go out and play’. And visa versa.

“I’m sure the lads will be desperately keen to get out and play some competitive cricket again. It’s been a long winter for some of the guys, but the disappointment they’ve had will mean the long winter is not an excuse anymore.”

Jonathan Trott has been recalled to the Test squad - is he ready?

“He had a really good tour of South Africa as captain, which would have put him under a bit more pressure. Seeing how he coped with that would have been very interesting for the guys. We’ve had fantastic feedback from the coaches, who asked a lot of Trotty – he played a lot of cricket.

“I’ve kept in contact with him all the way since that fateful day in Brisbane.

“It’s fantastic he’s back playing cricket for Warwickshire, and he seems healthy again. If that call comes, it will have been an amazing effort from him from where he was at Brisbane to where he is now.

“Obviously the ECB have assisted him to help him get back, and he’s a fine, fine cricketer. To have him starting to get his name back in the selection mix is fantastic.”

How much pressure is Peter Moores under?

“As always in this day and age…we talk about football managers and it’s coming into cricket now – it’s a results driven business.

“There’s no doubt about it, there’s pressure on him. There’s pressure on all of us.

“All I can say is that I’ve really, really enjoyed working with Peter. In my eyes, he’s a fantastic coach who needs a bit of luck for that to come out. I enjoy working with him and the lads do. I hope he stays and gets the opportunity to turn it round. I’ve only got good things to say about him.”

How likely is a return of Kevin Pietersen for England?

I think it’s very unlikely.

“There’s been a hell of a lot of stuff happened with his book and all that kind of stuff. It’s a long way back from that.”

Does a poor World Cup suggest the captaincy should not have been changed?

“I’m always going to have a slightly biased view on that.

“I was there for three and a half years trying to do a job. We got to number one in the world with a full strength side and got to the final of the Champions Trophy. There were things I can be very proud of. As any captain will tell you, leading your country in a World Cup is a huge honour and one that can never be taken lightly. I was very much looking forward to that.

“I understand the pressure I was under. I wasn’t scoring the runs I should, or could, have been scoring, so I understand that my position was in jeopardy. I said at the end of Sri Lanka that if there was a change, I couldn’t complain because I hadn’t scored the runs.

“But I think you saw in Australia the dangers of making such a big decision so close to the tournament. I don’t know what’s gone on on that tour, and I can only speak from watching a little bit from afar, but it did look like the lads were shell shocked from the first two games. That’s when you need real leadership to help steer you through that. Whether I would have made a difference, I don’t know.

“But I was fully confident we would get out of our group, and from there, you’ve got to win three games in a row – that’s how this World Cup has worked.

“I can’t speak about what’s gone on there in depth, but you always back yourself, and I would have loved to have had the opportunity that was taken away from me. The selectors made that decision because they thought it was the best for English cricket. Hindsight has probably proved them wrong, but now it’s very easy to say that.”

A big year with the Ashes to be fought for…

“First of all, you are always under pressure as an England player. That’s what makes elite performance fantastic because those people who have stayed at the top and deliver time and time again, it’s a huge credit to them

“We now have a job to try and rebuild English cricket in terms of trying to win games. We are under pressure again because another lost series (World Cup) isn’t great.

“Going away from home and winning any series is tough, but hopefully in a month and a half’s time, we can sit here with a beer and say ‘we’ve done a good job’.”

Is English cricket lagging behind the rest of the world?

“You’ve got to be very careful saying we’re lagging totally behind considering we’ve had some amazing success over five or six years. The last 15 to 18 months has been tough, but before that we’ve had success.

“Let’s not totally say we need to strip everything down and change. I think we’d be very naive to think that our system on the domestic and international side is working to its full potential.

“I genuinely believe there has to be some changes, but I think those have to be very carefully thought about. We’ve got a chance now with a new chairman and CEO because they are going to come in with fresh ideas.

“But let’s not totally slag off English cricket because of a bad six weeks at the World Cup. We’ve produced some fantastic players. Jimmy Anderson is going to break the record of Beefy’s wickets very soon. We’ve produced cricketers of fantastic skill and performance for a number of years, so let’s notionally discredit the system.

“You’re right, though, there will be a change. The franchise Twenty20 or the changing of county cricket, I think will happen at some stage.”

•HB twitter

James Buttler

James has been working as a cricket journalist and broadcaster since 2006.
As the editor of Cricket Badger he is intent on building the website to give quality coverage of the domestic game around the world.
James was the full-time Media Manager at Yorkshire County Cricket Club between 2007 and 2010.
James is a published author and a writer/video contributor to many cricket publications.
He's unsurprisingly a complete cricket badger!

3 thoughts on “FULL INTERVIEW: Alastair Cook on England, KP, Trott and World Cup

  1. Pull your head out your rear Mr cook. Peitersen is a much better cricketer than you, would most likely be a better captain to. As a grown man you get hurt by choice words someone has in a book, bless you would you like a cuddle. The decision to oust you as captain was the right one as you couldn’t captain a horse to eat a sugar cube. So stop moaning and try (although you will fail) to sort the cricket out in this country as its embarrassing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>