Captain Cook backs rotation policy to provide success

Alastair Cook is content to be leading a relatively fresh-faced England side in India this month after accepting the need for rotation in international cricket.

The England and Wales Cricket Board have long pursued a policy of resting players with the heaviest schedules and, with a Champions Trophy, back-to-back Ashes contests and a pair of series against New Zealand coming up in the next year, this is set to continue.

Indeed, their current one-day series in India, which continued with the second one-day international in Kochi early this morning, takes place while a trio of senior men stay back in England.

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Anchor man Jonathan Trott, opening bowler James Anderson and first-choice spinner Graeme Swann have all been excused the five-match series, which England lead 1-0 after success in Rajkot.

But Cook does not bemoan the lack of experience as he plots to record only a second series win in the country, instead accepting the need for workloads to be managed.

“Careers are short but rest and rotation is going to be an important part of the side moving forward,” he said. “Luckily, we are building a squad of players. We’ve got young lads here who have been in the international side for six to eight months and they are gaining experience, and, hopefully, showing if they get their chance they can take it.

“Rest and rotation is important and to me it is on a tour by tour, week by week basis.

“As players and even coaches we are going to have to assess the situation, week by week, month by month. You can’t really plan too far ahead because things change due to injury or form.”

Cook’s reference to ‘resting’ coaches is a nod to the decision to appoint Ashley Giles as the side’s limited-overs coach, easing the strain of team director Andy Flower, who continues to lead the Test XI.

Before being named captain of the 50-over side, Cook suffered from something Tim Bresnan describes as “natural rotation” in one-day cricket, having been overlooked for tactical reasons.

Despite excelling since his return, he remains unpicked in Twenty20, something which perhaps explains his eagerness to avoid being rotated out of the sides he currently leads.

“I want to play as much cricket as I can for England,” he said. “I’m just happy that I am getting selected to play. There was a time when I wasn’t playing any one-day cricket at all.”

South Africa wrapped up a 2-0 series victory over New Zealand with another comprehensive win in the second Test.

The Proteas made devastating use of the new ball, reducing New Zealand from 203-5 to 211 all out to seal victory by an innings and 193 runs at Port Elizabeth. Paceman Dale Steyn took three of those five wickets to finish with match figures of 8-65.