Heat & pressure will be relentless – Cook

Alastair Cook

Bangladesh v England, first Test
Venue: Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium, Chittagong Date: 20-24 October Time: 05:00 BST
Coverage: Test Match Special commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra, app & online; live text commentary on BBC Sport website

Captain Alastair Cook says England must cope with the “relentless heat and pressure” when they begin their winter Test campaign on Thursday.

England play two Tests in Bangladesh before travelling to India in November for a five-Test series.

Cook is set to break Alec Stewart’s England record of 133 Test caps in Chittagong this week.

“You are testing yourself in conditions that are very alien to English players,” he told BBC Sport.

“I can’t remember doing 10 weeks on the subcontinent.

“You don’t often get the flurry of wickets you do in England or Australia, or the flurry or runs where you can change a session quickly.

“You can lose a lot of wickets quickly towards the end of the game, but the first three or four days of cricket is hard and normally quite even.

“The clue is in the name. It’s Test cricket – that’s why it is such a good game.”

Cook said England are likely to rotate their squad during a schedule featuring seven Tests in nine weeks.

“It will be a whole squad effort,” he said. “Certainly the fast bowlers are very unlikely to be able to play all seven and it’s probably sensible to change it up for freshness.

“We’ve got some challenges and people who can do very special stuff.”

Another record beckons…

Cook, who has scored the most Test runs and made the most Test centuries for England, will play his 134th Test on Thursday – and his 132nd in a row.

“I’m clearly very proud to beat a record set by an England great,” said Cook, who made his Test debut against India in March 2006.

“There were a lot of moments where it was touch and go whether I was going to get picked. I scored just enough runs at the right period of time to continue.”

He is likely to be open the batting with Haseeb Hameed, 19, or Ben Duckett, 22, neither of whom have played Test cricket.

Both made half-centuries in England’s final warm-up game against a Bangladesh Cricket Board XI, Duckett having also passed 50 twice in the recent one-day series in Bangladesh.

Cook described them as “hugely talented cricketers” and said their inclusion in the squad is “really exciting for me”.

‘It was my duty to come back’

Cook, 31, rejoined the England squad on Monday after returning home for the birth of his second daughter.

“It’s been an emotional 48 hours,” he said. “It doesn’t make you feel like the best husband or father leaving 18 hours after the birth, but I’m really pleased it’s gone well.

“We do sacrifice a lot to play cricket. Clearly it’s an incredible privilege to be captain of England and that was one of the decisions we made as a family, that it was right to come back and do your job.

“You don’t know how long you are going to be captain of England or how long you are going to play for. I felt it was my duty to come back.”

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BBC Sport – Cricket

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