ENGLAND head coach Andy Flower is refusing to panic over the form of Alastair Cook and is sure the Essex opener will deliver telling runs over the course of the Ashes series.
The 25-year-old struggled this summer against Pakistan’s new-ball duo of Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif and failed twice with the bat during England’s warm-up win over Western Australia last week.
Moreover, Cook’s overall record against Australia is hardly cause for optimism. The vice-captain averages just 26.2 from 10 Tests against the old enemy. But Flower remains unconcerned and believes the left-hander will perform, starting against South Australia tomorrow.
“I don’t have concerns,” said the England coach. “It’s one game, two innings [against Western Australia]. I think he’s going to do well.”
Flower believes tomorrow’s match at the Adelaide Oval will give England, and Cook, more crucial preparation in the second of three practice matches.
“It was very important for us to get that middle time,” said Flower of the victory over Western Australia at the Waca.
“We had one middle practice a few days before. But that sort of competitiveness on the Test wicket is important preparation for our guys.
“Again this match in Adelaide will be good experience on the Test square. That will be vital preparation for us.”
England are expected to field the same 11 players who beat Western Australia, with the coach explaining there was no reason to give players a match for the sake of it.
Flower added: “It’s not about trying to be fair to everyone. We are trying to prepare our Test side for Brisbane. That’s the priority.
“When you’ve got a squad of 16 or 17, obviously everyone wants to play. But our priority is to ensure that our Test XI is as ready as possible for the first Test.”