Having conceded the first Test against Pakistan at Lord’s, the Headingley Test is a must-win game for England to save the series. Ahead of the all-important Test match on Friday (June 1), England opening batsman Alastair Cook has expressed his concern over the ‘Test futures’ of some England players.
In his latest column for Sky Sports, Cook wrote: “We need to play better. Test futures are on the line.”
Despite Alastair Cook’s 70, England were bundled out for 184 in the first innings at Lord’s and eventually lost the match by 9 wickets inside four days.
Expressing the disappointment on the performance, Cook wrote: “It’s never great when you lose, even more so playing the way we did at Lord’s. It’s a frustrating time for us at the moment as a side; we’re not playing well. If you want to play cricket for England, you’ve got to deliver, otherwise we’ll be looking for other employment. That’s the nature of the beast and, fundamentally, we’re not producing out in the middle. But we have to stick together as a group.”
“The last thing you can do is play the blame game, and the trick is now to not carry the negatives from the first Test with us to Headingley. Again, that’s another thing easier said than done. But clearly we are not going to lose every game of cricket ever, it is going to turn around at some stage, and it’s down to us to do that,” the southpaw added.
England made one change to their squad for the Leeds Test, with Keaton Jennings replacing Mark Stoneman. While Cook admitted that it would be a tough phase for Stoneman, he insisted the Durham opener to go back to domestic cricket and get some runs under his belt.
“It’s tough on Mark Stoneman. It’s horrible. Playing for England is these guys’ dreams, so it’s not nice seeing people dropped. I spoke to him on Monday; he was obviously disappointed, as you’d expect, but he has to now go away, score runs and look at areas in which he can improve his game.It gives Keaton a great opportunity, and we just need people to grab these opportunities with both hands and to start pushing this side forward, like Jos Buttler and Dom Bess – on debut – did at Lord’s. He is a very level-headed guy and seems very suited to Test level, in terms of his mental approach. He got a hundred on debut, which shows he can play, but then against a good South African side last summer things just didn’t quite go his way,” Cook concluded.