Root’s ‘great start’ en­cour­ages Cook

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

For­mer Eng­land cap­tain Alas­tair Cook hailed the “out­stand­ing” start made by new Test skip­per Joe Root ahead of his sec­ond out­ing in charge. York­shire bats­man Root will look to guide Eng­land to a win that puts them 2-0 up in the four­match se­ries when the sec­ond Test gets un­der­way at Trent Bridge on Fri­day after his first match as cap­tain ended in a dom­i­nant 211-run win over the Proteas at Lord’s last week. That was the 26-year-old Root’s first match as Test cap­tain since Cook stepped down from the post in Feb­ru­ary and saw the new skip­per star with the bat as well in mak­ing a first-in­nings 190.

“It was a great week for English cricket,” Cook told Sky Sports yes­ter­day. “For Joe Root to get off and win a game by 200 runs and get 190, it doesn’t get much bet­ter than that,” added the 32-year-old Cook, still in the Eng­land side as an open­ing bats­man.

‘BUSI­NESS AS USUAL’

“I am re­ally pleased for him. He had a hor­ri­ble cold all week, but I thought he was out­stand­ing. “When he did speak in the dress­ing room his mes­sages were very clear. The con­fi­dence he will have got from last week, it is al­ways im­por­tant to start well. “He got the mon­key off his back in terms of get­ting a big score early on in your cap­taincy ca­reer, which stops ev­ery­one talk­ing about cap­taincy af­fect­ing your bat­ting. “I think all in all he will have gone to bed Sun­day night a very happy man.” No one knows more about the pres­sures of lead­ing the team than Cook, who cap­tained Eng­land in a record 59 Tests be­fore standing down fol­low­ing a 4-0 se­ries loss in In­dia late last year.

“Noth­ing can pre­pare you for it,” Cook said of be­ing Eng­land cap­tain. “Some­times the peace and quiet is on the field and when you are bat­ting. It is a big role, but it’s great that he had a re­ally good start and I am al­ways there if he needs some sup­port.

“Per­son­al­i­ties will be dif­fer­ent. His will evolve over a pe­riod of time. He is still new to cap­taincy, in terms of any kind of cricket, so he will get bet­ter and bet­ter. He could not have done more in that first game.” Mean­while Cook marked his re­turn to the ranks after five years as cap­tain with a valu­able 69 in the sec­ond in­nings at Lord’s. “It was busi­ness as usual for me,” said the Es­sex left-han­der, Eng­land’s all-time lead­ing Test run-scorer.

“It was a lit­tle bit strange, espe­cially when Joe came out to toss and know­ing I will never do that again.

“But then you see all the in­ter­views after and think ‘it’s al­right, I can go and get my pads on!’ “I have done my stint, proud of what I achieved and hope­fully we can build for­ward with Rooty.”

Cook added: “The tar­get hasn’t re­ally changed for me. It is just to score runs to help set up Eng­land vic­to­ries... Scor­ing big hun­dreds is the dream for any bat­ter.”

South Africa have lost just one away Test se­ries in the last 10 years and Cook ex­pected the Proteas to bounce back strongly at Trent Bridge. “You watch a lot of their cricket and they are one of the sides that travel very well,” he said. “They have a very good record away from home. They will be hurt­ing.

“We need to be right on it. In Test-match cricket if you are not on it for the full five days you can lose it very quickly.” — AFP

Joe Root

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