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‘Need to assess ourselves’

Ahmedabad: Perhaps, he couldn’t have done much more to save England from losing the first Test of the series against India, but captain Alastair Cook, who made a splendid 176 only to see his side go down by nine wickets, has made it clear that the English players will have to pull up their socks.

“If we have to win this series, everyone will have to contribute… There’s absolutely no doubt about that... Everyone has to stick his hand up and say that,” Cook said at the post-match media conference.

“The lads have not performed as much well as they would have liked to in this game and they would be very disappointed. But there are a lot of quality players in the dressing room… So we need to assess ourselves. That’s cricket and we have to be strong as a team,” he added.

Asked if there are any specific area which needs attention, Cook said: “When you get beaten by nine wickets, you have to look at a lot of areas… There will be a lot to ponder upon… Some considerations will be made over the next few days. We have to look at our selection.”

Happy with his own knock, Cook, however, didn’t hide his disappointment at his team’s loss. “I am very happy with the way I batted… To score any hundred is special… To score in that situation, made it even more special for me… But the result is really what matters at the end of the day… There was a small chance of saving the Test, but we could not take it,” he said.

Was this his best knock? “I don’t know… Maybe technically it was a good knock… But I would have been satisfied if we had won… So maybe, the double hundred in Brisbane (in 2010) was better because we had saved that match,” Cook said.

Accepting that his team were clearly the second-best, Cook said: “We were not good enough in the five days of the match… We showed a lot of character towards the second-half of the game. We got bowled out for 191 in the first innings and it was pretty much there that we lost the game.”

However, unlike Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who was critical of the pitch, Cook termed the Motera pitch as a good wicket. “I thought it was a good wicket... It behaved better than we had expected. There was a bit for the spinners… And you could get runs if you were willing to fight,” Cook observed.

Expressing faith in the ability of his team, Cook said: “We can score runs against this Indian attack, it’s just that we have to score in both innings and give ourselves a chance of winning the game. We showed a lot character in the second innings.”

But while he thrived, the other batsmen found the going tough. Questioned what the problem was, Cook said: “But that would be like saying why I can’t hit the ball like Chris Gayle… For some it’s natural, the way of doing it, and some have to work harder. It’s a case of working hard in the nets and trusting the method out there in the middle… It might be in the mind, but it is also a technical issue.”