Few men can be under more pressure than Alastair Cook ahead of the first Investec Test between England and India.

His captaincy and recent record has come under scrutiny, but in the final press call ahead of the match, he insisted that a big score is only ever an innings away. 

“I know how important it is at the top of the order to score runs and I am desperately keen to lead from the front and score some runs,” said Cook.

“One of the big jobs as a batsmen is to score runs and set up game for England, it doesn’t matter whether you are captain or not. I haven’t been doing that that in the last year or so.

“No one is more keen than me in getting that right and I have worked really hard over the last ten days, just have to make sure my mind is clear and I can concentrate on that ball coming down.

“A big score is always just an innings away and that is one of the beauties of form that people don’t quite understand.

“You can go into it a little bit rusty in the first 20/30 minutes and get a bit of luck then all of a sudden you are back to where you were.

Much of the talk before the series has been revolving around Alastair Cook’s suitability to lead England. The opening batsman insisted that his performances at the top of the order hadn’t been affected by the responsibility of leading the team.

“I think (separating batting and the captaincy) is easy to do that and I have never had that issue when I have been batting,” he said.

“I can honestly say that anything like that has never crossed my mind when someone is running in and bowling mid 80s- 90mph.

“The skill is being able to switch and be mentally fresh as you are always thinking about it when you are in the field as a captain your mind works overtime then you have to go bat that’s a skill but I don’t see that as a problem. 

“There is always pressure in this job and it doesn’t matter what stage of your career you are in you will always have it, and the beauty of the job is to see whether you can handle that.”

England’s only injury concern ahead of the match is with wicketkeeper Matt Prior, whose tightness in his thigh during yesterday’s net session at the ground saw Jos Buttler called up at the last minute. Cook, however, added that Prior should be fit to take to the field in the morning.

“There was a bit of concern yesterday with his thigh but he’s done everything we have asked of him today and looks really good so fingers crossed that will be ok,” he said.

“We are 99% certain he will be fine, of course you will have a little check in the morning just to make sure but generally everything looks good.”


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