Former England Test captain Alastair Cook had a terrible start in the ongoing Ashes tournament. The left-hand batsman scored just 9 runs in two innings in the first Test at Gabba, getting out cheaply with scores of 2 and 7 in the match. But in spite of his failures, English captain Joe Root believes there is no doubt over his inclusion in the squad for the second Test.
Speaking to reporters in Adelaide Oval, Root said, “Cookie is a world-class act. He’s scored over 11,000 test runs, he’s been one of our most consistent performers for over 10 years. He’s not had the ideal start to the series, but … I’m not going to lose any sleep over him.” The skipper added that he expects Cook to return to form and play a massive contribution to England’s cause during the tournament. “I’m pretty sure that during this series he’s going to make a massive contribution and he’s going to perform really well for us,” he said.
Talking about his team set up for the second Test at Adelaide which starts from Saturday, the 26-year old added that there are doubts hanging over the selection of all-rounder Moeen Ali. Ali suffered a finger cut in the first Test and struggled with his bowling. “We’ll have another look at things after practice and see how he is then and see if there’s any more damage to it and then we’ll have to make a decision from there,” Root said.
The captain added that Ali could still feature as a batsman for the side: “His batting’s been a huge part of our team for a long period of time now so I think he would still play as a batter. He’s a top-class batter and he’s someone who has the potential to go on and become one of the best batters in the world.”
On being asked if leg-spinner Mason Crane could get a nod instead of the injured all-rounder, Root said,”I think we’ll have to look at the situation with Moeen, see how bad it is, look at the conditions but it’s definitely not out of the question.”
On concerns raised by English seamer James Anderson regarding potentially ‘dangerous’ short-pitched deliveries to England’s tails by Aussie quicks, Root said, “I think it’s test cricket. And as a lower order player against an attack like that, you’ve got to expect traffic around that area and you’ve got to make sure you deal with it.” The skipper added that the lower order needs to be prepared for such deliveries. “I think we’ve got to make sure as a lower order we’re very prepared to face a lot of balls in that area and deal with it better than we did in that first game, simple as that,” he said.
The second Ashes Test between England and Australia at Adelaide will start on Saturday. It will be the first day-and-night Test between the two countries.