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India vs England: Joe Root wants Alastair Cook to end on a high in farewell Test

Joe Root said the retirement of Alastair Cook won’t be a distraction and the team will come up with an appropriate gesture to mark Cook’s farewell.

cricket Updated: Sep 06, 2018 22:52 IST
N Ananthanarayanan
N Ananthanarayanan
Hindustan Times, London
joe root,alastair cook,cook retires
Alastair Cook will retire from international cricket after the fifth Test against India at the Oval.(REUTERS)

Jonny Bairstow won his battle to be restored as England wicketkeeper and will bat at No. 5 as England named the same eleven for the final Test against India, starting at the Oval on Friday. The hosts will continue with the experiment of having Moeen Ali at No.3 while skipper Joe Root comes in at his favourite No.4 slot.

Bairstow, recovering from a finger fracture in the fourth Test, flopped at No. 4 after reluctantly handing over the keeping gloves to vice-captain Jos Buttler, England’s stumper in the limited-overs teams.

Bairstow did keeping practice in the morning to test if his left middle-finger had healed. “He has been the Test keeper for some time. It is no reflection of how Jos kept. It is also long term looking at the team’s schedule in all international cricket. Jonny deserves the opportunity to keep wicket,” skipper Joe Root told a media conference on Thursday.

He denied there was any tension in the dressing room as coach Trevor Bayliss had wanted Bairstow to move up to No. 4 and Root to bat at 3 to shore up the batting.

Root, struggling at No. 3, said he will return to his favourite No. 4 slot with Moeen Ali, who took nine wickets in the 60-run win at Southampton last week that gave England an unassailable 3-1 series lead, batting one-drop as he does for his County, Worcestershire.

Root denied the team management had bowed to Bairstow, but said he will have to improve his keeping and shot selection, after falling for six and zero in Southampton. “Jonny will have to keep working hard, and keep improving. It is not just keeping, but his whole game.”

The England skipper hoped Alastair Cook turns his farewell Test into a memorable affair and clinch the series 4-1.

“I have seen it coming for a while (big score from Cook). If it does it will be a real high on a personal note. I hope he soaks up everything that comes this week and go out and score a century.”

Root said the retirement of England’s record run-getter won’t be a distraction and the team will come up with an appropriate gesture to mark Cook’s farewell. “There can be no greater motivation for the group. As a team we want to give him the best opportunity to celebrate and finish a fabulous career.

“He is the most down-to-earth superstar you will ever see. He has time for everyone, he is not just great for his runs, but as a person as well,” he said.

“It’s sad, but we understand. To play for 12 years, his record, especially in these tough conditions for the majority of it, not many in the world can match that.”

First Published: Sep 06, 2018 19:14 IST