• England

Cook 'just gets steelier' - Moores

George Dobell | ESPNcricinfo
August 10, 2014
Life has become significantly easier for England captain Alastair Cook after two wins © PA Photos

England coach Peter Moores has praised the resilience and determination of Alastair Cook following England's three-day victory over India in the fourth Test at Old Trafford.

When England were beaten the Lord's Test, little more than a couple of weeks ago, it meant they had lost seven Tests in nine and were without victory in almost a year. Cook admitted his position as England captain was under pressure unless he could turn around his own form and the results of the team before the end of the series.

Now, successive victories later, that pressure has eased. While some concerns over Cook's batting form linger, the improved performances from the rest of the team have revived hopes that England's new era is heading in the right direction.

Moores delighted with England newcomers

  • Peter Moores hailed the performances of Moeen Ali and Jos Buttler after England's innings-and-54-run victory over India at Old Trafford.
  • Moeen again played a key role with the ball in the second innings, taking 4 for 39 as India were skittled for the second time in the match. Moeen is now the second highest wicket-taker in the series with 19 victims.
  • "He's backed up the performance in Southampton," Moores said. "He's getting better, that's the main thing. He'll have his challenges. He's not the sort of bloke to get carried away and he's shown in international cricket there is a chance to develop really fast because you are amongst good players.
  • "He's bowling against top flight batters and he's adjusted. His pace has increased and he's bowling tighter. The fact that he is getting out top players of spin will bring him a lot of confidence."
  • Moores was also pleased with wicketkeeper Jos Buttler who made an important 70 with the bat and recovered from a shaky first-innings to keep soundly in the second.
  • "He's played two very different innings. He's not just a biff-bang player. He's calm at the crease, he looks in control.
  • "That partnership with Root was really good because they got through a difficult period. But he also took his opportunities to score so he was happy to sweep or lap the spinner or take on the seamer."

But, even during those challenging days after Lord's, Cook never lost his appetite for the job. Indeed, according to Moores, the experience brought the best out of him.

"He's one of those characters who, the more criticism he gets, the more determined he becomes," Moores said. "He just gets steelier. He would openly admit that he's had a really tough ride. But that often can forge somebody into something special.

"The significant point came when he made it clear he was in it for the long haul. He made it clear he wanted to do the job. If other people didn't want him, then fine, he'd move on, but he made public his desire to captain England. He just said that he was going to give it everything he's got and he still has the same approach now.

"Everybody knows it is a very pressurised job. You're dictated by results. But you need to know that somebody is up for the challenge. You've got to have a belief in them as a person that, as captain, they can take people forward. Leadership is about getting people to follow you and creating opportunities for them. Cooky is very much into that. Deep down, he is a real carer as a bloke."

Moores also praised elements of Cook's captaincy that might not be seen by the media or spectators. Insisting that the creation of a positive dressing room environment was at least as important as on-field tactics, Moores reiterated his commitment to Cook as captain and suggested he was improving in all facets of leadership.

"If you have players who are confident to play, it is probably more important than whether you have three slips or four," Moores said. "If you have a guy running in hard for you in his third spell and he's tired and he's working for you and for the team, that is more important than a field position being five yards out. There will always be in cricket three decisions you can make at one time, but what you want is a team out there playing hard.

"Alastair is developing quickly as captain. He has great values to lead with, so that's always a great start. It is difficult to ask somebody else to do something you wouldn't do yourself and there is nothing Alastair wouldn't do, for England or for the team. So that's a good place to start. But tactically he is also developing quickly.

"He is in a great position because he is relatively young to have played so many Test matches and to have such a great record. He has a desire to lead. It doesn't mean you would question yourself - everyone questions themselves all the time, humility is the sign of a good leader - but for me you're trying to build relationships and keep everyone in the group settled. There will be some changes but hopefully the leader is one you don't want to change too often."

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