Tue. Nov 29th, 2022

Across the sea from football and after a bellyful of white ball cricket England’s men turn their attention to the red. Abu Dhabi is hosting a three-day match against the Lions on Wednesday before Ben Stokes and his team head to Pakistan for their first Test in Rawalpindi next week.

Besides an adjustment for the three-game streak, this comes at an interesting time for the Lions. The high performance review of English cricket may have met with fierce resistance to the proposed local structure, but suggestions that could be accepted without the county’s approval include further investment in the second series.

As the report states, the Lions should be “raised” with an “80%” focus on the red ball. Because of this, camps like the ones run in the last two weeks could increase and provide more access to senior coaches and players – for example Jimmy Anderson was out from the start – plus a chance to impress on the field.

“It’s a great journey in development and finally this match against the Test team is what you’ve been working on,” says Essex sailor Sam Cook, who won his first Lions call last winter. this week.

“You want to showcase yourself for Test coaches against the best players in the country that you hope will be teammates in the future.

England have 30 players on the pitch – 15 on full roster, 15 on Lions – and the match at the Sheikh Zayed complex could be a dynamic squad rather than top-notch. Among the hopefuls are Leicestershire’s 18-year-old leg spinner prodigy Rehan Ahmed and three cricketers with test caps in Haseeb Hameed, Matt Fisher and Matt Potts.

The cook is another promising person in the main batch who only pushes four quicks. In September, when he caught Yorkshire’s Tom Kohler-Cadmore on the third slide, the 25-year-old was the first English bowler to reach 200 first-class wicket milestones since Alan Ward in 1971 with a bowling average of less than 20 (19.59). it happened. ).

A right-winger who combines ruthless accuracy with skill, Cook is doing something strikers don’t like, and England’s interest has grown. Pace tends to come to the fore at this point, but Cook, who has made great strides in the past two years, is relieved.

Leicestershire's 18-year-old leg spinner Rehan Ahmed is another Lions player looking to impress.
Leicestershire’s 18-year-old leg spinner Rehan Ahmed is another Lions player looking to impress. Photo: John Mallett/ProSports/Shutterstock

“There’s two aspects to the speed issue,” says Cook, who won two State Championship titles in 2017 and 2019, a T20 Blast win, and a four-wickets final when the Trent Rockets won the Men’s Face this year.

“Personally, I’m not worried about speed in terms of getting Test players out. I’ve already done this in Test venues so I have confidence that I can do it at Test level. I’ve built my game on consistency and try to take small pieces of information to continue completing all aspects of my game, whether it’s fitness, speed or skills.

“But if you can consistently move the ball at a higher speed, that will only improve you – maybe more low notches to slide actually carry. I’ve added a bit over the last two years but I’m not 100% focused on that. There’s no quick fix to adding 5mph – if a If the coach knew this, he would have the keys to the sport. It’s about minor adjustments. I’ll never be 90mph, I just want to do what I’m doing as quickly as possible.

Recalling that warm-home Lions players still rely on the counties’ production line, he thanks Essex for his ascent and the continued encouragement of Alastair Cook – Little Chief’s Chief and Chelmsford locker room sage 161 since retiring from Test cricket. in 2018

“It was incredible,” says Sam Cook. “Can I buy you a drink, sir?” It helped me a great deal – a little bit prophetic.

Abu Dhabi is where Cook senior played England’s longest Test strokes, an 863-minute Olympic breakfast bout that formed an almost famous win against Pakistan in 2015. Under Brendon McCullum as head coach, England are doing things a little bit faster and the young Cook as a whole, like the Lions, got the message.

He adds: “My priority is Test cricket. As a fan – some badger – it was amazing to watch this summer. Brendon also joined us at Lions training. He was a great guy to chat with but also gave the group a message about being entertaining and being aggressive. He just encourages you ”