England skipper said that his spat with famous Aussie spinner has been blown out of context
SHARJAH, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES: England skipper Alastair Cook on Saturday said his spat with famous rival Shane Warne had been blown out of context as he insisted he now has a better relationship with the Aussie great.
Warne irked Cook with critical comments about his captaincy last year in a newspaper column when he suggested the Englishman should step down from his role.
Visibly upset at the comments, Cook hit back, saying: “Well something needs to be done because for the three years I’ve been England captain I have in my eyes been criticised for a hell of a lot of that.”
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But a courtesy visit by Warne to help England spinner Adil Rashid in the nets in Sharjah on Friday ahead of the decisive third Test against Pakistan seemed to have eased out the tension.
“He was still fairly critical in the summer as well, as (former Australian captain) Michael Clarke’s best mate he was always going to do that,” said Cook of Warne’s comments during England’s 3-2 Ashes win this year.
“Me and Warne’s so-called spat, what I said was taken a little bit out of context — it was probably directed to the whole media, not just him, and people jumped on that.”
Cook said he talked to Warne on the phone last year, which helped ease the tension.
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“We had a phone call for an hour, hour and a half, and have stayed in contact ever since. We have a better relationship than before the phone call and it was great of him to come down,” said Cook.
“It was great of him to come down and spend some time with Rash.”
Cook believes Warne’s advice will help Rashid, who made his debut in the drawn first Test against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi.
“For a young leg-spinner to spend time with the greatest ever and have access to him, and for him to be so open with Adil, was brilliant,” said Cook of the meeting.
“Me listening to what he was telling Rash was fantastic and we are very grateful to him. I’m sure the Pakistanis were as well with Yasir, so he’s just evening himself out,” said Cook.
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Rashid will be key to England’s plans as they seek to level the series in the third and final Test starting on Sunday.
Pakistan won the second Test in Dubai to take a 1-0 lead.
“Hopefully Rash took something from it — I’m sure he did — and can continue on his improvement as a young leg-spinner in terms of experience at international level,” added Cook.
Cook also insisted that he has learnt with each game as captain, something which Warne had also conceded.
“Absolutely, I’ve learnt. No doubt. The more you do the job the better you get at it. You can better cope with everything that goes with it.”