Andrew Strauss has backed Alastair Cook as the right man to lead England this summer and to adapt his captaincy to the style of cricket played against New Zealand in the recent one‑day series that has recaptured the public’s imagination.
‘I think Alastair is at a phase of his career where he is not afraid to try new things to try and get success,’ Strauss said.
‘I know from my own experience that when you’ve been involved with English cricket for a long time it’s quite nice to have that sort of fresh change of thinking and I am sure he and Trevor [Bayliss] will forge a very strong partnership.’
The England director of cricket would not be drawn on whether this will be Cook’s last series as captain although he did stop short of giving him his backing beyond this summer.
‘At the moment, he is the right man for the job. None of us knows what’s going to happen over this five-Test series. It would be wrong for me to speculate but I do know that Alastair is incredibly motivated for this series and he is in a better frame of mind going in to it than he has been for a quite a while.’ – The Guardian
STOKES READY FOR VERBAL ONSLAUGHT
All-rounder Ben Stokes says he can handle any intimidation by the Australians during the Ashes.
Stokes had been asked about the fiery temperament that has become a hallmark of his international career to date and how, when the situation inevitably arises, the 24-year-old will deal with confrontation from a side notorious for being in the face of their opponents.
The former England captain Michael Vaughan has already suggested Michael Clarke’s tourists will look to trigger the short fuse that saw him cross swords with Mitchell Johnson on debut in late 2013, break his hand punching a locker in the Caribbean the following year and draw a sarcastic saluted send-off from Marlon Samuels in April.
Does Stokes see the aggressive part of his cricketing DNA as a strength or an achilles heel?
‘It’s a strength,’ he replied, with little hesitation. ‘It’s about being in a battle and if you are in a battle you don’t want to be a loser. If I get involved I don’t want to take a backward step and let them know they are on top of me and can say what they want and get away with it.
‘I’m definitely expecting there to be some feuds out on the pitch but I will not go out of my way looking to cause an argument. If anyone comes at you on the cricket pitch in the heat of the moment – when the adrenaline is going – I don’t think anyone in our squad is one to shy away from it.’ – The Guardian