Eng­land’s Cook hails An­der­son re­turn for In­dia Tests

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

MUM­BAI:

Cap­tain Alas­tair Cook yes­ter­day hailed top bowler Jimmy An­der­son’s sur­prise re­turn from in­jury as he in­sisted Eng­land would revel in their sta­tus as un­der­dogs dur­ing their tour of In­dia. Cook said that An­der­son, Eng­land’s all-time lead­ing Test wick­et­taker with 463 scalps, had been given the all-clear fol­low­ing a shoul­der prob­lem and could ar­rive in In­dia as early as Tues­day.

“It’s re­ally good news. He’s ready to come so it’s just about try­ing to get him out to Ra­jkot as quick as we can,” Cook, 31, told re­porters in Mum­bai. The first Test of the five-match se­ries starts in Ra­jkot, in western Gu­jarat state, on Wed­nes­day as In­dia seek re­venge for a home se­ries loss to Eng­land four years ago. The pow­er­ful An­der­son will miss the open­ing Test but could be ready to lead Eng­land’s at­tack for the sec­ond match, which starts in Andhra Pradesh state, on Novem­ber 17, said Cook.

An­der­son suf­fered a frac­tured shoul­der blade last sum­mer and had been dogged by a re­cur­rence of the in­jury but passed fit­ness tests back home on Fri­day while the rest of the Eng­land squad were al­ready train­ing in In­dia.

“I was chat­ting to him yes­ter­day and the sec­ond Test is a good pos­si­bil­ity. We’ll know when we see how his body re­acts when he’s out here,” said the skip­per. An­der­son took more wick­ets than any other pace bowler on ei­ther side when Eng­land won the 2012 se­ries in In­dia and Cook be­lieves the fired-up 34-year-old could be the dif­fer­ence again. “He’s worked in­cred­i­bly hard to get back and has come back so much quicker than we thought. “He’s up for it and is not just com­ing here to make up the num­bers so that’s great for us. He wants to make a dif­fer­ence in this se­ries,” Cook told a post-train­ing press con­fer­ence. In­dia are num­ber one in the world and have not lost a Test se­ries at home since left-handed bats­man Cook ex­pertly lead Eng­land to a 2-1 vic­tory four years ago. Eng­land’s spin at­tack is weaker than it was back then when Graeme Swann and Monty Pane­sar ex­celled on In­dian soil but Cook is con­fi­dent that his side can spring a sur­prise.

PRES­SURE OFF ENG­LAND

“Un­for­tu­nately we haven’t quite got that ex­pe­ri­ence of prob­a­bly top qual­ity spin­ners. (But) Mo (Moeen Ali) has been very suc­cess­ful against In­dia in the past. “Rash (Adil Rashid) has done very well in One Day Cricket and we prob­a­bly haven’t seen the best of him in Test cricket yet. “(So) we’ve ac­tu­ally got more op­tions in this squad than we did in the last squad,” he said. Cook warned crit­ics not to write off his team even if they do lose in the open­ing Test re­call­ing his side’s heroics the last time they toured In­dia. “I re­mem­ber sit­ting in a press con­fer­ence af­ter the first Test and ev­ery­one was talk­ing about how you’re go­ing to stop In­dia win­ning 4-0 and we man­aged to turn it around and win 2-1. It shows that any­thing is pos­si­ble.”

Eng­land are look­ing to bounce back from a hu­mil­i­at­ing de­feat to min­nows Bangladesh last week and Cook be­lieves that be­ing un­der­dogs, rather than favourites, will work in his side’s favour. “We’re un­der no il­lu­sions about how hard it could be but be­ing an un­der­dog takes a lot of pres­sure off us,” said Cook. — AFP

MUM­BAI: Eng­land crick­eters Ben Stokes (L), Ben Duck­ett (C) and cap­tain Alas­tair Cook bat in nets dur­ing a train­ing ses­sion at the Brabourne Sta­dium in Mum­bai yes­ter­day. Eng­land are due to play a five-match Test cricket se­ries against In­dia, with the first Test at Ra­jkot from Novem­ber 9-13. — AFP

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