India v England: Alastair Cook wants fringe players to step up

Alastair Cook
Alastair Cook

England captain Alastair Cook wants big performances from some of his fringe players in the one-day series against India, which begins on Friday.

England are missing experienced stars Jonathan Trott, Graeme Swann, James Anderson and Stuart Broad in India.

"If people perform really well, it will be hard to leave them out," Cook said.

"[It's up to] especially those players who've been around a while to try to step up and produce match-winning performances."

England have rested Trott, Swann and Anderson for the five-match series, which begins in Rajkot on Friday, while Twenty20 captain Stuart Broad misses out through injury.

That means opportunities for players like 22-year-old Yorkshire batsman Joe Root, Warwickshire all-rounder Chris Woakes, 23, and young Surrey fast bowler Stuart Meaker.

England, who won the Test series 2-1 against India before Christmas, were beaten 5-0 in their last two ODI trips to the country, in 2008 and 2011, and suffered warm-up defeats to India A and Delhi this week.

Their opponents are world champions in the 50-over format, but England are world ranked number one by the ICC for ODIs.

"I don't know how many places are up for grabs but I would say a lot of them are," added Cook. "You want competition and people pushing hard to put out the people who are in the team now.

"It's going to be a hell of a challenge, a bit like the Test series in one way. We have to do something that no English side has done for a long time.

"Clearly we are the underdogs but if you look through our side we have got a lot of firepower and a lot of world-class players.

"For us to win the series, those world-class players and everyone else in our squad is going to have to play out of their skin."

Ashley Giles will be in charge of England for the first time since taking control of the limited-overs team from Andy Flower, and he is expected to include Jade Dernbach in the seam attack, alongside Steven Finn and Tim Bresnan.

Woakes and Meaker will compete for the final bowling place with Hampshire spinner Danny Briggs, who is yet to play on the trip.

India have dropped opening batsman Virender Sehwag for the first three matches of the series, and captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni is also under pressure after losing Test series to England, home and away, and Australia.

However, the wicketkeeper has denied he is thinking about giving up the role.

"Never," the 31-year-old said. "In team sport it is important that everyone keeps believing in themselves and understands their responsibility.

"We have to wait and watch [the selectors] but that's something that is not in my mind before the start of an important series.

"I can't think about that. It is very important to stay focused on this series."

England squad: Alastair Cook (capt), Ian Bell, Tim Bresnan, Danny Briggs, Jos Buttler (wk), Jade Dernbach, Steven Finn, Craig Kieswetter (wk), Stuart Meaker, Eoin Morgan, Samit Patel, Kevin Pietersen, Joe Root, James Tredwell, Chris Woakes.

India squad for first three ODIs: Mahendra Dhoni (capt, wk), Cheteshwar Pujara, Gautam Gambhir, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravinchandran Ashwin, Ishant Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Ashok Dinda, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Shami Ahmed, Amit Mishra.

Match Referee: A Pycroft (Zim).

Umpires: S Davis (Aus), S Ravi (Ind).

Third umpire: V Kulkarni (Ind).


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