Cook vows to graft way out of twin slump

Frank Dalleres
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EMBATTLED England cricket skipper Alastair Cook is banking on hard work to see him emerge stronger from a crisis that he insists contributes to “the beauty of the job”.

Cook leads his team into today’s first Test against India at Trent Bridge knowing that another series defeat could spell the end of his captaincy, while a failure to remedy his own run drought will raise further questions about his place in the team.

“I’ve worked very hard over the last 10 days. I’ve just got to make sure my mind is totally clear so that when I go out I can concentrate on the most important thing: that ball coming down,” he said.

“We all know you are judged on results, and results have not been good enough. I’m desperately keen to lead from the front. No one is keener than me to put that right.”

England expect to have wicketkeeper Matt Prior available despite concern over his right thigh prompting selectors to summon Jos Buttler as last-minute back-up yesterday. “We’re 99 per cent certain he’ll be fine,” Cook added. “We’ll check in the morning, but things look good.”