Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Cook's Mental Strength Hailed by Admiring Ali

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Cook's Mental Strength Hailed by Admiring Ali

Article excerpt

Byline: David Clough

MOEEN Ali will take the attack back to India as England try to ease the pressure on captain Alastair Cook by avoiding a Royal London Series whitewash at Headingley.

Three resounding defeats have galvanised Cook's critics, who have grown increasingly adamant he is not the right man to lead England to the World Cup early next year.

The captain himself remains defi-ant, however - and so too are his players, exemplified by Moeen's description of Cook as "mentally stronger" than anyone else he has ever met.

Moeen insists England's one-day international gameplan is not at fault, and have come up short against India so far only because of a collective loss of form and confidence. That did not appear to be the case for him in England's latest trouncing at Edgbaston, where he alone countered the opposition with a 37-ball half-century.

On his return today to the ground where - in very different circumstances and with contrasting methods - he came within one ball of saving a Test series against Sri Lanka with an unbeaten century three months ago, Moeen intends once again to try to put India on the back foot.

He is not above copying successful opposition tactics either, having seen Suresh Raina seize the initiative with a brutal hundred in Cardiff - since which India have not looked back.

"Watching someone like Suresh Raina in the first game, they were in trouble - and he came out ... took a few risks and they came off," said Moeen. "He backed himself."

Moeen found himself in a similar situation in Birmingham, where just for a short time his fine footwork and carefree hitting raised English hopes.

"I tried to copy it a little a bit," he said.

"It's something I always go back to if things do a get a little bit (difficult).

"I just think 'go out and play, you know, who cares' - take the pressure off myself and enjoy playing international cricket for my country." It is a state of mind which often works for him. "It's something I go back to a lot and probably should do all the time. …

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