England skipper Alastair Cook has vowed to restore some pride as his side bid to escape from the fifth and series-concluding Test with India, which starts in Chennai on Friday, unscathed.
The tourists trail the world’s No1-ranked Test side 3-0 following a long and arduous tour, while Cook continues to be dogged by constant speculation over his long-term future as captain.
“We’re very proud to represent England and we’ve got another opportunity to do that in the next five days,” said Cook. “We’ve competed with India in this series, but we just haven’t been good enough when it’s got tight.
“One thing this side can’t be criticised for is togetherness and desire and the way the lads have fought. We’ve put everything into this tour. I’ll have no regrets on certainly the effort.
“Clearly, we’d rather not be 3-0 down and there are certain decisions in hindsight we would have changed but that happens. I’ve been very proud of the way people have stuck together.”
Seamer James Anderson will miss the fifth Test due to “body soreness”, while Cook has conceded that the 34-year-old’s workload will need to be managed to ensure he is fit to play a prominent role during next winter’s Ashes.
“I’m very confident [Anderson will play in the Ashes],” added Cook. “I think we’re certainly going to have to manage him more than we have managed him in Test matches.
“That’s not in terms of when he plays, but he may miss a couple more Test matches as a precaution just from what’s happened over the last six months.”
India captain Virat Kohli, meanwhile, has revealed that he plans to play county cricket in order to prepare for his side’s next tour of England in 2018.
“If I have a chance I would love to do that,” he said. “I would love to be there a month or month and a half beforehand getting used to playing in the conditions, understand what the wickets play like in that phase of the year.”