England skipper almost dropped himself in truncated one-daye
London: The England captain has revealed he almost stood aside for a more attacking batsman before playing his match-winning knock against India. England's captain, Alastair Cook, considered dropping himself before leading the side to victory with an unbeaten 80 to take a 1-0 lead in the NatWest series.
Cook, who is not a member of England's Twenty20 side, said afterwards: "It was mentioned in our dressing room. We talked about it. Because the game was shorter we wanted more attacking batsmen. That's why Samit Patel came in. I'm desperate to keep improving so I can do that more often."
With the match reduced from 50 to 23 overs England dropped Jonathan Trott. But with the injured Eoin Morgan out of the side there was pressure on the England batsmen to respond to a challenging total of 187 for eight.
Cook said: "It was a fantastic wicket. We decided to bowl because it was cloudy, there was rain around and the wicket had been under covers. But after the first couple of overs it was clear that it wasn't doing very much."
Cook and his opening partner, Craig Keiswetter, set the tone for England's reply with an opening stand of 67 in six overs. Ian Bell and Ravi Bopara were then involved in useful stands with their captain.
"Craig played brilliantly at the top of the order and left us just having to milk it to get there," said Cook.
Spinning a web
But Cook, whose runs came from only 63 deliveries and included five fours and a rare six, was the star of England's performance, even though Graeme Swann had made a successful return to the side earlier in the day. Swann finished with three for 33 from five overs.
Cook said: "Swanny's No 1 in the world and on a non-turning wicket, especially with a wet ball, to take the wickets he did was an outstanding effort."
A dejected-looking Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the India captain, said: "The bowling department needs to step up a bit.
"It was a tough day. We batted well to put 180-plus on the board but the first powerplay was crucial. They got 60-odd runs and 100 from 10 overs and then they didn't need to take any risks.
"We have been able to put runs on the board in the ODI series, which is a positive for us, but a bit of improvement is needed in the bowling department. Everybody tries their best but almost all the bowlers went for runs," a downcast Indian skipper said during the presentation ceremony.
Rain washed out the first one-dayer in Durham and torrential downpour delayed the start of Tuesday's match by almost five hours.