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Alastair Cook Lauds Mohammed Shami and Co, Says Was Nervous About Failure

Cook heaped praise on fast bowler Mohammed Shami, who troubled the English batsmen all through the day although he ended up wicketless

Cricketnext Staff |September 8, 2018, 11:32 AM IST
Alastair Cook Lauds Mohammed Shami and Co, Says Was Nervous About Failure

England’s all time highest run-scorer Alastair Cook scored an elegant half-century in the first innings of his last Test match, against India at the Oval. Cook scored a typically solid and patient 190-ball 71, before his dismissal triggered an untimely collapse as England went from 133 for 1 at one stage to 198 for 7 by stumps.

“I thought the way the Indians bowled was fantastic,” Cook told Sky Sports. “I think I played one cut and one pull shot all day. A lot of credit to them.”

The left-handed batsman heaped praise on fast bowler Mohammed Shami, who troubled the English batsmen all through the day although he ended up wicketless. Shami’s best spell was a hostile one before tea to Moeen Ali, who dug in before being dismissed for 50 from 170 balls.

“It was an unbelievable spell,” he said. “I was facing Ravindra Jadeja at the other end and quite happy! We found it hard to know which way it was going. One thing Mo did pretty well, yes he was playing and missing, but he wasn’t curtain-railing as much, he was playing the line.

“There’s sometimes a skill in playing and missing, I know it’s a bit of a funny thing, but he wasn’t moving his hands as much. Sometimes in Test cricket you’ve got to just suck it up and you need a bit of luck.”

The Indian bowlers have been impressive for the most part of the tour, and kept up their good work on what is possibly the most batter friendly surface in the series.

“It has been testing batting conditions for both sides with the new ball, but it didn’t nip as much early on here,” Cook explained. “There also wasn’t as much zip off the wicket, it was a slightly slower wicket. There was a bit of swing as the ball got a little bit older. The ball hasn’t strung straight away throughout the series.

“I can’t [think of conditions as testing as this series]. Whether it’s the ball or the amount of grass which is left on the wickets these days, you don’t often get a white wicket anymore. It’s certainly made it an interesting contest between bat and ball.”

Cook has not been in the best nick through the series, and felt his half-century meant more since he had already announced his decision to retire before the match.

“I think because of the emotion I didn’t want to not get a score. There’s nothing worse than going out and not contributing after all the fuss about the week. I was probably just as nervous as I was anyway.

“Everyone says, ‘just enjoy it, it doesn’t matter how many runs you get’, but actually that’s never the case. There’s never a game of cricket ever like that. It was nice to get off the mark; that was the most important thing first. I think it was seven or eight balls and then got going.”

The left-hander, who made his debut against India in Nagpur more than a decade ago, was also afforded a guard of honour from the Virat Kohli-side.

“It all happened so quickly,” he said. “It’s really weird, I always think playing in the Ashes at Lord’s, walking through the long room, it’s such an amazing noise, but you just do not appreciate it. The guard of honour is such a nice gesture, but you’re just focussed on batting.

“It was very kind of Virat and the Indians but you’re just trying to concentrate on that first ball. The reception I got was fantastic, but it kind of went on a bit and made me even more determined not to get out.”

At stumps, it was the visitors who had the upper hand after Cook’s fine innings earlier in the day. Cook though believes England will bounce back and take control as they look to make a statement of intent with strong performance against India.

“You don’t know what a good score is until both sides have batted,” he said. “It was disappointing to lose six in that last session, and it was slow going at Tea. You just don’t know. Even at the end the ball was still doing enough. We’ve got a very good bowling attack, and three wickets left to get. I do think I’ll be batting again.”

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