Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 2 August 2014

Cook set to stir it up in bid for success

Howzat: England bowler Moeen Ali (left) is congratulated by Joe Root after taking the wicket of India's Stuart Binny at Trent Bridge

England captain Alastair Cook admits his side would be taking a step into the unknown if they played Simon Kerrigan against India at Lord's next week – but the hosts could be ready to take that gamble after drawing the first Test yesterday.

The series opener at Trent Bridge petered out to a farcical end as, with neither side able to press for victory, Cook decided to bowl himself and rest his frontline attack.

Improbably, he managed to snare the wicket of Ishant Sharma with his rag-tag collection of mimicry and loopy tweakers.

Kerrigan has been added to the squad for that game having been present this week as a net bowler and could get the chance to put his nightmare Test debut behind him.

He played against Australia in the final game of last year's Ashes at The Oval and came perilously close to getting the yips, bowling eight overs of dreadful deliveries and being pummelled for 53 runs.

His record for Lancashire, where England coach Peter Moores mentored him, shows he is better than that but Cook concedes there is an element of risk in the selection.

"Simon is a very tough kid, he had a tough eight overs against Australia and he's fought his way back," said Cook.

"Until you make a contribution for England you never quite know if you belong in international cricket at Test level but from what I've seen as a character and with the talent he's got with the ball, I think he'll be fine.

"We didn't see the best of him at The Oval in that one game and quite rightly he could have been nervous, he didn't know many of the lads and that kind of stuff can come in.

"We will only know when Simon does play Test cricket again.

"I'm sure he'll be nervous when he bowls again, but weren't we all when we first started?"

Although Cook leaves Nottingham as a Test wicket-taker, he also does so with many unanswered questions about his form.

He made just five in the first innings before being bowled in unusual fashion around his legs and via the thigh pad and, perhaps surprisingly, was not invited to bat again on the final evening as India opted against declaring.

He has not scored a Test century in his last 25 knocks and averages just over 13, but is not hiding from the challenge ahead.

"It's a testing game," he said. "If you suddenly change everything you're not being true to yourself.

"I've got to believe the wheel will turn at some stage. I need to start scoring runs at the top of the order for England.

"For a year I haven't done it now and I need to do it. Simple."

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