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Tuesday 5th
posted by Greg Leedham in Sport

by Greg Leedham

Alastair Cook said on Tuesday that he’s tough enough to cope with any barbs that Shane Warne throws his way.

The England skipper’s tactics were branded “negative” and “boring” by Aussie legend Warne.

On the eve of England’s four-day match against Australia A in Hobart, Cook said his experience meant that he was unfazed by the observations of his detractors.

“When someone makes a comment about you, it does change your blood pressure slightly,” he said. “No-one in the world can say it doesn’t. But I’m pretty confident and pretty skilful at being able to handle it, because over the past seven years I have done it pretty well.”

Cook believes that mental toughness is a crucial attribute for an elite-level cricketer. “One of the skills you need as an international cricketer, compared to being just a county player, is having to deal with this situation,” said Cook.

“There is a lot more interest in what’s going on, and how you handle yourself is whether you make the grade or not.”

England won last summer’s Ashes series 3-0 and, as a result, sees no reason to change a winning formula, even if England’s style isn’t to everyone’s liking.

“I’ve always said I’m trying to learn on the job from experience, and there will be times where I could be slightly more imaginative and think slightly differently if the situation arises,” he added.

“(But) we’ve had a pretty good run so far as a Test side. In my first year as a Test captain, we’ve won away in India — which wasn’t done for a long time — won a series against Australia, and I think those are things we can be very proud of as a side.

“It’s all about results ... that is how a captain is judged. In sport it is pretty black and white and luckily at the moment, we’ve done quite a lot of winning. That’s what it’s about — the now, how we are preparing for another big challenge, winning in Australia.”

Of Warne, he added: “It doesn’t seem times have changed at all, does it, since last summer?”

“It’s pretty much exactly what was said in the summer. We had pretty good results then as well.

“It’s not surprising, obviously being an Australian and trying to get into the English camp, but I think everyone can see that. It is what happens when England play Australia.”