Alastair Cook is perhaps facing the heat more than any other England player including captain Joe Root in the ongoing Ashes. At a time when the former England skipper is gearing up to become just the first player from his country and eighth overall to appear in 150 Tests, he is being targetted from several quarters for his displays in the first two Ashes Tests.
England’s leading run-scorer in the longest format of the game has endured a tough time in Australia so far, having managed just 62 runs so far which prompted his former teammate Kevin Pietersen as well as former Australia speedster Mitchell Johnson question his desire to continue playing at the highest level. Johnson had even gone on to claim that the England opener was ready to hang his boots.
And so when Cook attended the press conference on Tuesday ahead of the third Test in Perth, the left-handed batsman was flooded with questions surrounding his career. However, Cook hit his critics and the questions over his future out of the park as he made his intentions clear of not calling it quits anytime soon.
“The people who are saying that have had no contact time with me,” Cook told reporters at the WACA. “They wouldn’t know the extra nets I’ve been doing behind closed doors. I was with [batting consultant] Gary (Palmer) for an hour-and-a-half yesterday morning, desperately trying to keep working at my game. That’s probably not a guy who has given in.”
Cook, who began his career in 2006 with a remarkable century in the Nagpur Test against India, further said he was proud of joining the handful of players who have played 150 Tests. With England 2-0 down, losing the upcoming game will see them lose the urn and Cook called ‘the match as the biggest games of our lives’.
“Not many people play 150 Test matches – so to do that, and at the top of the order, I’m quite proud,” he said. “My job… is to try to get England off to a good start and on this tour I have struggled. We’ve got the biggest game of our lives coming up and we’ve got to scrap unbelievably hard for the five days. I try my hardest all the time and I prepare as well as I can. I try my b******s off really. It’s as simple as that and I’ll do that for as long as I can,” he said.
Cook also spoke on how the England team is facing the criticism in the last few months due to the off-field controversies. After the Ben Stokes incident in September which marred the buildup to the Ashes, England have suffered two other off-field incidents on the ongoing tour. The first was the headbutt incident involving Jonny Bairstow and Cameron Bancroft while the second one was the one where Ben Duckett poured a drink over James Anderson’s head in a bar.
“The world obviously changed for the England cricket team in September,” said Cook. “Those last two incidents have proven there is very little margin for error when you’ve had a beer. We’ve just got to smarten up, and we’ve got to do it quickly because there’s too much at stake.”
The 32-year old once again reiterated his passion of playing for the national team, saying: “It is a very special thing to pull on that hat. It’s a special thing to walk out and play for England. And that’s why I love doing it.”
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