Alastair Cook interview: England captain happy with clean breaks at work and fresh nappies at home

The England captain has endured a hellish spell in charge - but is now looking forward

Outside the sun is shining on Lord’s and the mowers are cutting an outfield that already looks immaculate. Inside, in the England & Wales Cricket Board’s offices, the talk is of contrasting new arrivals, one of whom is interrupting  Alastair Cook’s nights, the other whose aim is to enable the England captain to sleep more soundly.

If two-week-old Elsie, Cook’s first child, has helped put a torrid winter down under into perspective the appointment of Peter Moores as England’s new coach is intended to make the next Ashes series a less gruelling experience.

Cook is as captivated by fatherhood as any new parent. “Being a dad is best thing you can do, it’s very exciting. Parenthood changes things a lot. The word perspective is used and I think over time that word will get used more and more as Elsie grows and you watch her develop. You look at her and think of the life she will have in front of her, you just don’t know, so you end up thinking more about her than yourself.”

But, as he says, “I also have a job to do, which is one I’m very proud of, and we have an opportunity now to try and start again and rebuild.”

So between occasional nappy-changing he has been working on his batting – for a skipper who has always led by example the winter’s sub-25 average was damaging -  and his captaincy.

Specifically he has been discussing leadership with Andy Flower, Moores’ predecessor, who is now technical director of elite cricket, and Steve Bull, the sports psychologist who has long worked with the England team. This week he will extend this circle of advisors to Moores beginning with dinner one evening during Essex’s match with Surrey at The Oval.

If Moores has ‘history’ of the wrong sort with Kevin Pietersen his previous experiences with Cook have generally been positive.

“When I heard it was Mooresy I was really excited by it,” said Cook. “I've got on really well with Peter, not only the time when he was England coach [from 2007-09] but we did quite a lot of work at the Academy together before that, so I've known Mooresy since about 2005. I think he's a really good coach, a brilliant coach in fact, and a really good person.”

It was while touring the West Indies under Moores with the England Lions that Cook’s Test career started, Moores recommending him to Duncan Fletcher when England suddenly needed an opener in India. Cook flew from Antigua to Nagpur, made a century on debut, and has barely missed a Test match since.

Moores’ accession to the senior team was not as successful with several senior players saying he was too much ‘in your face’, but Cook said he had no such issues with him “maybe because I was a younger player in the side”. Cook added: “A lot of those senior players had grown up with Duncan Fletcher as their England coach and their [coaching] styles at that time were very, very different.

“I think, as he's said, he would have improved as a coach over the five years he's been with Lancashire and I don't think it's any coincidence he's the only guy to win the Championship with two different sides. That's the measure of his success as a coach and building a side up from scratch, which is kind of where we are now with the new era.”

While Cook was not part of the selection panel that appointed Moores he was, he says, “consulted throughout the process” by Paul Downton, the managing director, England cricket, who led the search. “I'm sure we pretty much sing off the same hymn sheet, otherwise I don't think he would have been appointed,” said Cook.

At his unveiling Moores stressed a desire to play attractive cricket. Cook has been criticised as a defensive-minded captain but indicated he had fresh ideas that, now Moores had been appointed, he could begin to put into practice.

“We have been in limbo the last couple of months. I came back from Australia, devastated with what had happened, and you start to think about how to turn things around. You have a lot of ideas, talk to a lot of people, but can’t actually follow through until the head coach came in. I can now pick up the phone and talk cricket [to Moores].

“I certainly think I inherited a side from Straussy [Andrew Strauss] and Flower, and now it does seem a bit of a clean break.

“As Peter said, we want to make people proud of the way we go about our business. It is results-driven, we know that, but [we can look at] the way we communicate with the public. The England rugby team has evolved particularly well and it would be wrong not to look at the way they've done that. That kind of stuff, the Englishness, the legacy you want to leave behind of the culture we want to create.”

Cook has begun the season well personally, making 181 for Essex against Derbyshire last week. “I’ve had time to work on my game technically which you don’t normally get and have really enjoyed it. The proof is in the pudding - I’ve scored some runs.”

If Cook can return to doing the same for England he and Moores will already be well on the way to erasing the winter’s bitter memories.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Life and Style
A nurse tends to a recovering patient on a general ward at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham
health
News
science
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
News
Chuck Norris pictured in 1996
people
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Lucas, I SCREAM DADDIO, Installation View, British Pavilion 2015
artWhy Sarah Lucas is the perfect choice to represent British art at the Venice Biennale
News
A voter placing a ballot paper in the box at a polling station
i100
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
The Queen (Kristin Scott Thomas) in The Audience
theatreReview: Stephen Daldry's direction is crisp in perfectly-timed revival
Sport
football
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power