England looking to stay focused
England skipper Alastair Cook knows his team is on the brink of achieving something special, a series victory in India after a gap of 27 years.
There’s the danger of emotions overlapping pragmatism after taking a 2-1 lead with a Test to go, but Cook warned his team-mates to take the emotional element out once they enter the field on Thursday, and concentrate on the job.
“Everyone knows how important this game is, how big this game is. But as a player, you have to take that emotion out of it. Use it in the build-up, but when you’re out there, you have to be focused on what your job is and what the state of the game is, and you have to be ruthless in taking that emotion out.
“It’s nice to talk about it, but when you’re out there, it’s important to focus on what your job is,” Cook told reporters here on Wednesday.
The Essex man offered a way as well. “The ideal way is to be calm at the crease when you’re batting. You shouldn’t let the situation dictate the way you play. You dictate the way you play.
“It’s obviously easier when you’re in good form because you are not worrying about your technique much unlike someone who is out of form. We just need to continue on the path we have shown,” he said.
Cook stressed on the importance of playing the hard-nosed cricket that the England have been playing in this series. “We’ve played some really good cricket. And we are desperately keen as a side to continue doing that. I said after Ahmedabad that if we could play to our potential, we have a chance to win. And to play as well as we have done in those two games hasn’t surprised me as such, but has pleased me. Everyone has contributed and we’re going to need more of that in Nagpur. We’re desperate, as I said before the beginning of the series, to win the series,” he said.
Then came that inevitable question about Cook’s connection with Nagpur, the venue where he made his Test debut. “It feels like such a long time ago that I made by debut… It’s a shame in a way that we are not playing in that old stadium. But the facilities here are incredible. The net practice facility is as good as any I have played in anywhere in the world. For me, personally, the other venue had lots of sentimental value. But hopefully, by the end of the five days, this one will too.”