Nottingham : England coach Trevor Bayliss has come out in support of the woefully out-of-form Alastair Cook at a time when questions are being raised about his future, saying he is “striking” the ball as nicely as ever.
“Cooky has not changed his demeanour. You wouldn’t know there was any difference between now and when he is scoring plenty of runs. He still practises as hard if not harder than anyone else. You watch him play in the nets and he is actually striking the ball quite nicely.
“His feet move well. I wouldn’t say he is out of form – he is still hitting the ball well – he is out of runs in the middle. But he is giving himself every opportunity. He practises hard and he still plays an active role in his position in the team,” Bayliss said.
One of England’s major concerns is the form of their openers. Cook has gone seven Test innings without a half-century, while Keaton Jennings – his 12th opening partner – is yet to cross that mark in his last 14 Test innings.
The coach though backed both of them to do the job in the remaining two Tests against India.
“When he was with the Lions in Australia last year, it was about trying to get a little more flow to his batting. He is a very upright player so he is probably never going to be one of those guys who gets well down over the front knee and sniffs the ball. It was about a little more rhythm.
“He’s been working on his back lift to get a little more rhythm and flow. It’s no easy task batting against these guys in these conditions which have been difficult. But that’s the job of an opening bat.”
The hosts collapsed for 161 runs on day two of the third Test and never recovered as India won by 203 runs to pull one back in the five-match series.
Reportedly, the coach and captain Joe Root led a charged-up dressing room debate following that batting collapse.
Bayliss said that he is aware of the attacking nature of his team’s batting line-up and will continue to back them in the near future.
“The guys we have in the team play in a certain way. They are attacking-style players, if you like. When you’ve been playing in a certain way for a number of years, it’s not the easiest thing to change in the heat of battle. I don’t know if it is good enough, but it is fact. I can’t say any more than that,” Bayliss said.