Former England captain Sir Alastair Cook has said that there’s a need for England’s batsmen to adapt accordingly to different conditions, while also cautiously suggesting that moving Joe Root up to number three might make a positive difference.
Speaking on the Cricket Social, Cook was critical of the notion that England’s batsmen ought to play their natural game in all conditions.
Cook said: “There’s the expression of ‘this is the way I play’, but you have to adapt. Is it different players? I’m not sure it is. It might be different mindsets at different times.”
Cook, England’s all-time leading run-scorer in Test cricket, also questioned the mental fortitude of England’s batsmen after they were bowled out for 132 from just 42.1 overs in their second innings. In the previous innings, West Indies battled hard for their score of 306, achieved from 131 overs. Darren Bravo showed particularly admirable strength of will in his 215-ball half-century, the third slowest in terms of time in the history of the Test cricket.
“They didn’t seem to show much fight,” said Cook. “They didn’t seem to show that grit. You can’t say many of the balls England got out to in the second innings were unplayable.”
Cook went on to suggest that while the personnel of the batting line-up might not be the issue, the order might be. Jonny Bairstow, who has batted in the top four in just five of his 62 Tests, finds himself at number three while captain Joe Root, undoubtedly England’s premier batsman, places himself at number four.
“Bairstow batting at three, they have a big decision over that,” said Cook. “For him to work at three, he has to really want to do it. He’ll have to tighten up. With his attacking nature, he will be vulnerable when the ball is nipping around.”
On Root, he added: “This will become a headline, but should Joe Root bat at three? I know he doesn’t want to bat at three, but in the squad there a lot of people who can bat four, five, six, seven, but not many who can bat three.
“He is our world-class batter. If he went to three, would it change the situation?”
The final Test of the series begins on Saturday, February 9 in St. Lucia.