England v Sri Lanka: Alastair Cook shrugs off criticism of captaincy

First Test: England v Sri Lanka

  • Venue: Lord's
  • Date: 12-16 June
  • Start time: 11:00 BST

Coverage: Ball-by-ball Test Match Special commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra, BBC Radio 4 Long Wave and via BBC Sport website, BBC Sport app & BBC iPlayer Radio app; live text commentary on BBC Sport website & mobiles

England skipper Alastair Cook is not concerned about criticism of his captaincy, and says he is proud to continue leading the team.

The 29-year-old endured a tough winter as England lost 5-0 in Australia.

But Cook told BBC Sport he does not feel as though he is on trial ahead of the first Test against Sri Lanka at Lord's, which starts on Thursday.

Analysis

"Time is short and, as the recent one-day series against Sri Lanka has shown, the respite limited. Cook's determination has never been in doubt. Now, with the resolve, must come recovery."

"I am concentrating on doing the job the best I can," he said. "If people want to criticise, they criticise."

Cook is at the forefront of a new era in English cricket, with Peter Moores preparing for the first Test match of his second stint as coach.

Moores, 51, replaced Andy Flower following the Ashes whitewash, after which there were some calls for Cook to resign as captain.

The Essex batsman said criticism was "the nature of the beast" of being a professional sportsman.

He added: "I am very privileged to be England captain. I love doing it but if it no longer happens, then that's the way it is.

"But I will be very proud to stay England captain. I love doing it and all I try and do every day is my best."

Cook will open the batting alongside debutant Sam Robson at Lord's, with Gary Ballance at three, Ian Bell at four, Joe Root at five and Moeen Ali - another player making his Test debut - at six.

"We are very impressed with Gary. He has got a fantastic game," said Cook.

Cook promises 'tough cricket' from England

"He bats lower for Yorkshire but, the way he bats, he looks like he has a technique where he can bat anywhere.

"It's a tough position but he's more than capable of fitting in there. When he gets in, he goes big, and for top-order players that's vital."

Cook said any fall-out from Jos Buttler's controversial run-out in the final one-day international between the teams would not spill over into the Test series.

Lancashire's Buttler was run out by bowler Sachithra Senanayake as he backed up at the non-striker's end.

"I would not read too much into it," said Cook.

"We want to play hard cricket, but we want to do it in the right way. We are responsible for our behaviour."

Sri Lanka counterpart Angelo Mathews remained unrepentant about Buttler's dismissal at Edgbaston, in a six-wicket victory that won the tourists the series.

He said: "We played within the rules and stuck to the spirit of cricket."

England (from): Alastair Cook (capt), Sam Robson, Gary Ballance, Ian Bell, Joe Root, Moeen Ali, Matt Prior (wk), Stuart Broad, Chris Jordan, James Anderson, Liam Plunkett, Chris Woakes.

Sri Lanka (from): Angelo Mathews (capt), Lahiru Thirimanne, Dimuth Karunaratne, Kaushal Silva, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, Prasanna Jayawardene (wk), Dinesh Chandimal, Rangana Herath, Dilruwan Perera, Shaminda Eranga, Nuwan Kulasekara, Nuwan Pradeep, Chanaka Welagedara, Dhammika Prasad.

Listen to ball-by-ball Test Match Special commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra, BBC Radio 4 Long Wave and via the BBC Sport website, BBC Sport app & BBC iPlayer Radio app; live text commentary on the BBC Sport website & mobiles