x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Days after marriage, Cook continues love affair with batting in UAE

Early evidence suggests tying the knot to his bride, Alice, has not been a distraction for a player who is clearly in love with batting.

After all the frivolity of the festive period, his Christmas Day birthday, and his wedding on New Year's Eve, Alastair Cook was all business again yesterday.

The 36 hours grace which the batsman was granted by his employers at the England and Wales Cricket Board, before he had to follow his teammates to the UAE, did not, in his view, constitute a honeymoon.

It was, in fact, precisely 11 minutes less than the time he spent batting in last winter's Ashes series. Back then, people probably thought he was wedded to the crease.

Early evidence suggests tying the knot to his bride, Alice, has not been a distraction for a player who is clearly in love with batting. The Essex opener made 76 against the ICC Combined XI at Dubai Sports City, while no other English batsman reached 20.

"It is strange coming down from such an amazing event then getting down to some grafting and hard work," Cook said of returning to cricket.

"It has taken a couple of days to get used to. We have been together for a while now, so I think she knew what she was getting in to, with the life of the cricketer."

Cook said he was surprised by the clatter of so many wickets to fall on the second day of their tour match, on a pitch which hitherto had seemed flatter than the Emirates Road.

However, the prospect of playing out a competitive final day today should work in England's favour as they look towards the Pakistan Tests.

"We try to get as much competitive cricket into us, so that when we come to the first morning of that Test match, we are ready for it," he said.

"It certainly helped us in the Ashes tour, and we hope it does the same here."

 

pradley@thenational.ae