Cook hits back at Atherton for "plodder and donkey" remarks

London: England ODI captain Alastair Cook has reacted sharply to former skipper Michael Atherton`s not-so-charitable remarks about his game.

"I`m not a fan of Cook as captain of the 50-over side. They have gone for a plodder at the top of the order and it`s a very difficult job if you`re not absolutely sure of your place," Atherton was quoted as saying.

"He`ll also find it difficult to set a great example in the field - he`s a bit of a donkey."

Not the one to take things lying down, Cook retorted by saying, "It takes one to know one, I suppose. But I have scored a one-day hundred for England, I know what is required to do that at the top of the order and I`m excited that my batting is in a good place to show that over the next few weeks."

"Everyone is entitled to an opinion, that`s part of the media`s job, and as an international player you are always under pressure, having to prove yourself, and it`s no different now," Cook was quoted saying in Daily Mirror.

The ODI skipper feels that his ODI game has evolved over time.

"I believe my ODI game has evolved since I last played this format for England. In Bangaldesh last year, I scored runs, scored them quickly, so I know I`ve got the talent and skills to do it. Now I`ve got to go out and prove it.”

"Every time, I wasn`t playing in the one-day stuff for England, I was going back to Essex and playing limited-overs games for them to improve my skills in this format."

But Cook was honest enough in admitting that he is far from being a finished product.

"Of course, I`m nowhere near the finished article--I`m only 26 and I`ve got a lot of work to do on my one-day game, but I`m prepared to do it. I`ve got my own style, I just hope I`ve got the skills to score my runs quickly in this series."

Cook obviously wants to emulate Test captain Andrew Strauss.

"Andrew Strauss is a great example of how a batsman`s style can evolve. When he started, his strike rate was around 65 to 70 runs per 100 balls, but by the end of his ODI career, it was up above 80. It shows you can improve, and I`ll be looking to follow in his footsteps because I`m more experienced and I`ve got a far better understanding of my own game now," he concluded.


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