Former England captain Alastair Cook was left furious with Jos Buttler’s side after they lost their first ODI match against West Indies on Sunday. Playing in Antigua, the visiting side failed to defend a target of 326 runs against Shai Hope’s team.
Cook slammed the English side for playing an international game without getting an idea of the conditions. Cook said that England should be playing practice matches to get an idea of how the pitch behaves.
“I expect England to get better but you can’t just keep going into series without match practice,” Alastair Cook said on TNT Sports.
“I know the schedule is really hard and other things but something has to give to give the players a better chance to perform straight away,” he further added.
Cook felt that England players looked rusty, as if they were not in touch with the ODI format of the game.
“No warm-up games, it doesn’t matter how many scenarios you do, a few of the lads were out in Abu Dhabi, they’ve had some scenario practice but under pressure today, they looked rusty,” Cook said.
The loss comes after England’s disastrous World Cup 2023 campaign where they finished 7th among 10 teams.
West Indies orchestrated a remarkable victory over England in the first ODI match of the series, showcasing a display of resilience. Playing in Antigua, West Indies completed their highest ever chase in home conditions – 326 runs set by England.
The hero of the day was West Indies captain Shai Hope, who not only anchored his team’s innings but also unleashed a barrage of powerful shots towards the end of the match. Hope’s unbeaten knock of 109 runs off 83 balls was punctuated with seven sixes and four fours, demonstrating his exceptional batting skills under pressure. His performance was particularly noteworthy in the penultimate over when he hit three sixes off England’s Sam Curran, who had an expensive outing, conceding 98 runs in 9.5 overs without taking a wicket.
“They were poor with the new ball new ball. In particular Sam Curran, he’s normally that banker, the guy under pressure, certainly in T20 cricket he’s been so good at the death but he was missing his mark by a long way,” Cook said on TNT Sports.
Hope’s innings was inspired by advice from former World Cup-winning India captain MS Dhoni, who once told him, “You always have more time at the crease than you think.”
This wisdom seemed to have been deeply ingrained in Hope’s approach to the game, allowing him to meticulously plan his innings even in challenging situations.
England’s bowlers, including debutant Rehan Ahmed, who took two wickets for 40 runs in his 10 overs, initially seemed to have the upper hand. However, their efforts were overshadowed by the West Indies’ aggressive batting. England’s captain Jos Buttler acknowledged the need to learn from the experience, despite some positives like Harry Brook’s top-scoring 71 off 72 balls and Phil Salt’s rapid 45 off 28 deliveries.