Of course Alastair Cook will feel a bit of pressure at the moment because there are people on the outside trying to apply it to him, but let me assure you every person in that England dressing room knows he is one of our ‘gun’ batsmen and our leader to take us forward.
The key for Cooky is to block out the noise on the outside and listen to the guys who are in the changing room and enjoy the great team spirit we’ve got now.
One thing is for sure, Cooky won’t be at home worrying about what’s being said on Twitter or written in the media. He’ll be too busy with the lambs and chickens on his farm.
Pressure: Alastair Cook is under fire after the loss to Sri Lanka with his captaincy coming into question
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Things can be built up from outside the bubble of the dressing room with so much chatter going on, but when we are in there Cooky is very much his usual, calm self. We spend a lot of the time talking about his farm and how he’s got to get back home to mow the lawn, rather than what anyone might be saying.
He’s never been an overly demonstrative guy or someone who jumps on chairs and rants and raves.
He’s always been a calm presence in the dressing room and he still is just that. It’s what has made him the world-class player he’s been over the past 10 years.
Cooky has played more than 100 Test matches and it may have escaped a few people’s notice that he passed Geoff Boycott to become England’s fifth-highest run scorer of all time. You don’t achieve something like that without being made of strong stuff.
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Remember in 2010 when he was struggling and there were calls for him to be dropped against Pakistan? He then got a hundred at the Oval after being dropped a couple of times and Asif throwing it over the keeper’s head for him to reach three figures. He went on to break all sorts of records and get himself an MBE that winter with his exploits in Australia.
Sometimes you just have to accept you are in the hands of what we call Mother Cricket and it will only take a play and miss or a slap through backward point for things to change for him. The worrying for India is that when it does change we know he scores big. I’ve got no doubt whatsoever that will happen.
We’ve all been there as players and you know that if you keep doing the right things then the tide will turn. I’ve no doubt whatsoever that will happen for Alastair.
Dressing room unity
Of course we were bitterly disappointed to lose to Sri Lanka by the narrowest of margins but there’s huge encouragement for the future. We now have an environment where young players can thrive.
Root, Ballance, Robson, Ali, Jordan and Plunkett have all come into the dressing room and been able to perform.
You read all winter about certain players saying how awkward they found the Australian tour but you can ask all 11 players involved in the Sri Lanka series how much they enjoyed it.
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Yes we lost but we are enjoying our cricket again and there’s a team environment where we can go out and play. That’s the single biggest improvement from the winter.
Now it’s up to the senior players to perform to the levels that are expected of them. Matty, Cooky, Belly, myself and Jimmy have got to take a lot of responsibility. We can all up our game and if we do, we’ll be a force to be reckoned with.
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Between Lord’s and Headingley I bowled 108 overs in a week. That’s much more than I’ve been used to in years gone by and I must admit I’ve never been as sore after a match as I was after Lord’s.
I do feel my knee but with patella tendonitis that’s always going to be the case until it burns itself out or it’s decided I need surgery.
Charging in: Broad says his heavy workload of 108 overs in the two Tests against Sri Lanka took it out of him
With Swanny gone it’s a workload we’ll have to get to used to, although I think as Mo Ali plays more he’ll get more confidence and bowl more overs.
He gets great revs on the ball. With five Tests coming up against India in rapid succession it’s almost certain there will need to be some rotation of our quick bowlers.
Good revs: England’s Moeen Ali will hopefully bowl more in future Tests to ease the burden of the pacemen
Although I was proud to become the first Englishman to take two Test hat-tricks I can’t escape the fact I didn’t bowl well at Headingley. I really struggled with the Headingley hill and it affected the lengths I bowled.
Running up that hill feels like a mountain and it made me feel stretched in my strides and that makes my front arm fall away.
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It’s easier bowling down the hill but Jimmy prefers that end.
We knew we had to bowl fuller but by not being able to get any rhythm it affected the lengths I bowled. That frustrated the hell out of me.
Neither Lord’s or Headingley favoured England’s seamers and I’m sure the Sri Lankan players would have been on their flight home laughing at the wickets they were presented with. I can’t imagine us turning up in Colombo and finding a green seamer. The wickets were very dry.
Go Mo Ali!
It was such a shame we couldn’t quite get across the line at Headingley because Mo played one of the great England knocks there and deserved more for it.
The way he left the ball outside off stump was phenomenal and when he gets going he’s a lovely batsman to watch.
Deserved more: Moeen Ali’s century for a losing side at Headingley was among the great England knocks
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