England captain Alastair Cook believes he is still improving as a batsman, despite his long wait for a Test hundred following him to Grenada.
Cook is the country’s leading century maker with 25, but has not reached three figures since May 2013 – a gap of 33 Test innings and counting.
He is hardly in crisis at present, with three scores of 70 or more in his last four Tests, but cricket’s obsession with landmarks means he will not be free from questions about his own form until he ticks off a 26th ton.
His next chance comes this week as England take on the West Indies in the second Test in St George’s, starting today, looking to improve on an attritional draw in Antigua.
Cook admits he took to studying old footage of his technique earlier in the year and although he spotted differences along the way, he is happier than ever with his method.
“I did have a look back in early February and watched a little bit and it has changed quite a lot,” he said.
“It’s evolutionary; if you tried to go back to exactly what you did it would probably be really unnatural.
“You’re always constantly trying to tinker with technique. You might fall into certain habits at times throughout your career...that is the batters’ charter in one sense, you’re always tinkering a little bit.
“But the most important thing is that when you’re out in the middle you’re not concentrating too much on technique, you’re concentrating on what is important: that ball coming down to you in the situation and the conditions you’re in.
“I’d like to think my game has improved over time, I definitely believe it has, it’s just different. But I’m desperate to set the tone well at the top of the order. It’s always important, every time you play for England. As a top order batter it’s great to score runs and help England win.”
England appear likely to make one change to their XI, with James Tredwell most vulnerable to Moeen Ali’s expected return.
Moeen joined the squad on Saturday after recovering from an abdominal injury suffered at the World Cup and should slot back in as a spin bowling all-rounder.
Tredwell hurt his arm in the closing overs of the first Test diving in vain for a catch, but Cook held open the possibility that either he or Yorkshire leg-spinner Adil Rashid could join Moeen if the pitch appeared responsive.
“That is a thought,” he said. “We will just have to have a look. We haven’t got too much information because the last Test match here was in 2009.
“So we’re going to have to look at that wicket, use our experience and try and pick the best side. But it’s great to have Mo back. He was a big part of our success in the summer, with his wickets, and it certainly adds competition for selection.”
The Test is the third to be played on Grenada and a crowd in excess of 11,000 is expected on the first two days on an island with a population around 100,000.