English in the West Indies: Alastair Cook says Ben Foakes has changed the dynamics & # 39;


England goalkeeper Ben Foakes averaged 69.25 in three Test appearances
West Indies v England, First test
Location: Kensington Oval, Barbados Date: January 23-27
Coverage: Direct text comments and The Cricket Social on the BBC Sport website and application

The England Test Team faced a "balancing act" because goalkeeper Ben Foakes had "changed the dynamics of the team," said former captain Alastair Cook.

Foakes, 25, scored a century on his debut against Sri Lanka in November and was impressed behind the stump after replacing the injured Jonny Bairstow.

Bairstow, 29, returned with a punch at three o'clock and will play as a specialist batsman against the West Indies.

"It's very difficult to get the right number of specialist blows now," Cook said.

"Foakes definitely deserves to play so it's a balancing act to improve the team."

Britain's highest Cook run-scorer, who retired after a series of victories over India in September, said Foakes' appearance meant captain Joe Root could not play four stitching bowlers and two spinners on the same team, as he did last summer.

"The balance of four seams and two spinners covers all bases in the West Indies because if the pitch changes, you will be fine," Cook, who was part of BBC coverage in the West Indies, told BBC Radio 5 directly.

"But Foakes who came and scored a hundred has changed the team dynamics."

England face the West Indies in a series of three Tests and the first match in Barbados starts on Wednesday at 14:00 GMT.

Cook in Root

Cook, 34, said his successor Root now "found his method" as captain by telling his players to be more positive in attacks and defenses after being defeated by Pakistan in the first Test last summer at Lord's.

"After the winter in which we lost Abu to Australia and then lost to New Zealand, Root returned home knowing how he wanted to move forward and that was what he did," he said.

"After we lost to Pakistan at Lord's, Root told us that he didn't care how long we struggled, it was about how many scores we got and he always wanted us to take positive options, even in defense.

"In the second Test at Headingley we were more assertive and the message was delivered to India and Sri Lanka as well.

"He found the method and people responded."

Cook the captain

Cook was appointed captain after retired partner Andrew Strauss retired in 2012 and led England in a record 59 Tests before he resigned in 2017.

But he said it wasn't until after a 5-0 defeat by Australia in Abu 2013-14 that he knew how he wanted to lead his team.

"First year, 18 months, you just try and find out what works for you and how to get the best from the players you have," he said.

"I'm just trying to be perfect in everything I do – I'm really paranoid about what I say to the team, when I say it, I write a lot of things and maybe become forced.

"In the end it's much more natural and people respond when it's natural and authentic and that gives me long life because I'm not so depressed."

Cook in the appetizer

Keaton Jennings (left) and Rory Burns will restart their opening partnership against the West Indies

After Strauss retired, Cook had 12 different opening partners because England failed to find the top.

Keaton Jennings, who opened with Cook in 12 Tests, joined Surrey captain Rory Burns in Sri Lanka and they have partnerships 10, 60, 12, 22 and three in five rounds during the series, with England winning 3-0.

"I like Keaton Jennings – everyone in the set-up likes it because they see a cool-headed man who seems very rough smoothly," Cook said.

"I played with Rory Burns for the English Lions against India A and he was very undisturbed – he became captain, which surprised me, but he handled it very well.

"I was very impressed with his mental approach, it was a great thing to step from Surrey to play representative cricket and especially after he waited a long time for his chance.

"They seem to be a prominent pair at the moment to open a blow for England and must be given a very good performance."


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