Former England Test skipper Alastair Cook reinforced his early season form by scoring a century during Essex’s 29-run One-Day Cup victory over Gloucestershire.
Cook has not appeared for England’s one-day side, who play Ireland on Friday, since being axed as captain in late 2014, but provided a reminder of his white-ball capabilities by chalking up a knock of 127.
Essex posted 315-8 from their 50 overs before restricting Gloucestershire to 286-8 to maintain their 100 per cent record in this season’s competition and sit second, level on points with south group leaders Somerset.
Former England all-rounder Ravi Bopara was the pick of the Essex bowlers with figures of 3-34, while big-hitting wicketkeeper-batsman Phil Mustard led the Gloucestershire charge with 90.
Cook’s ton was his second of the season following a County Championship hundred against Somerset last month. The 32-year-old is eligible to play in all of Essex’s matches until England’s first Test against South Africa in July.
England’s current one-day captain Eoin Morgan, meanwhile, believes this summer’s white-ball commitments, which principally include next month’s Champions Trophy, are pivotal in their preparation for the 2019 World Cup.
Morgan’s side face Ireland in Bristol on Friday in the first of two 50-over clashes. England will be without Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes and Jos Buttler due to their Indian Premier League commitments, but Morgan is demanding a statement of intent.
“We’ve marked it as the halfway stage to the 2019 World Cup,” he said. “We’re not taking this game for granted. The strength of the side we’re putting out reflects that, and it’s a really important summer for us, so we are taking it as seriously as any other fixture.”
Durham seamer Mark Wood is set to feature for England in Bristol after returning to form and fitness following his latest ankle operation which ruled him out of the international winter.