England captain Alastair Cook is desperate to lead from the front when the second Test against West Indies begins in Grenada tomorrow.
Cook was short of runs in the drawn first Test last week and is determined to turn that around at the National Cricket Stadium in St George’s as England seek a first five-day win in the Caribbean for 11 years.
Cook said: “Absolutely. You ask how keen I am, it’s a pretty silly question in that sense, but (I am) desperate at the top of the order to set the tone well.
“It’s always important, every time you play for England as a top-order batter it’s great to score runs and help England win.
“I have been lucky that I have had a very simple game plan on the mental side throughout my career and it definitely works. I am a resilient guy who can try and play each ball on its merits for a long period of time, that is kind of what my success has been built on so that hasn’t changed.”
If England needed any reminder of the importance of the new ball on Caribbean wickets they were reminded in Antigua where the pitch flattened out for batsmen once the shine wore off the ball.
Cook expects another tough slog, but believes his players are prepared for the challenge.
“We knew it was going to be a tough battle, we knew the kind of wickets we were going to play on and I think we were proved right,” he said.
“Everything we spoke about in the media or in our changing room was about it being a Test match that would last five days and that it would be tough to get the wickets.
“We did think it would be quite like the sub-continent and it turned out to be like that minus the spin.
“I thought the way we built a lot of pressure on their scoring rate, particularly in the field, was good and that created a few poles for us. I don’t think the blueprint will change too much unless the wicket surprises us.”
There is an injury cloud over spinner James Tredwell after he hurt his arm attempting to dive for a catch late on day five in Antigua as England pushed for victory.
“We’re a little bit concerned about Tredders’ arm,” Cook said.
“He dived trying to take that catch off Gary Ballance’s leg. He’s a little bit sore actually. He’ll need to bowl and we’ll see how he pulls up.”
England have slow-bowling cover, however, with Moeen Ali having joined up with the squad after proving his fitness with Worcestershire in the LV= County Championship last week.
Moeen was left out of the initial touring party after suffering a side strain during the World Cup and his return has been welcomed by his captain.
“It’s great to have Mo back,” Cook said.
“He was a big part of our success in the summer, with his wickets. It adds competition for selection certainly.”
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