Cook rues lack of practice against quality spin

The move to not include any frontline spinners in India ‘A’ and Mumbai ‘A’, England’s opponents in their first two warm-up games prior to the first Test, has been widely viewed as an Indian strategy to deny English batsmen quality time against spin bowling.

England skipper Alastair Cook, though sought to downplay the entire episode, maintained that they would have liked to face more quality spinners in their tour matches.

“We wanted to have as much practice as we could to get used to the conditions. We would have liked to face more quality spinners, but then again that is something we have no control over,” Cook told media persons in his pre-match press do here on Wednesday.

The Essex player also asserted that England were ready to face any challenge the Indians throw at them. “The wicket has changed a lot in the last 48 hours. I think the pitch has been re-laid. But we are ready for whatever is thrown at us. You are going to lose wickets in any game, no matter who is bowling. So, there is no concern regarding how many spinners India plays in the match,” he noted.

Ahead of the first Test, England suffered a setback losing fast bowler Steven Finn to injury. Finn had suffered a thigh strain during the warm-up match against India ‘A’ at Mumbai couple of weeks ago. "Steven will not be available for tomorrow's Test. It would be too big a risk,” Cook said.

Cook said England have enough quality in their benches to replace Finn. "I wouldn't call them (other England bowlers) back-up bowlers, they're all vying for a place to play in this XI, to be lucky enough to play for England. They've all worked hard to get used to these conditions and as selectors we've got a tough decision to make,” he said.

On India’s record at home, he said, "Over the years, Indians have coped well with the huge pressure of being the home team. History suggests that they have done really well at home. Now, we hope to challenge them here.”

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