Cook: The hunger and desire is still there

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Alastair Cook admits no player has a “God-given right” to play for England but he still has the hunger and desire to perform at the highest level.

The left-handed opening batsman scored 244 in the Boxing Day Ashes Test in Australia but has not past fifty in each of his 13 other innings while he failed to score more than 14 in his last four knocks in New Zealand.

Cook, who is England’s leading run-scorer in Tests with 12 028 after 154 matches, is set to continue at the top of the order for the upcoming two Tests against Pakistan and then again for the five-match series against India later in the season.

The 33-year-old says he simply has to score runs to justify his place in the England team.

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Cook told Sky Sports: “As always in sport, you have points to prove and I would like to score runs at the top of the order to prove to people I’ve still got it.

“The hunger and desire is still there but no one has a God-given right to play for England – you have to score the runs to justify your place.

“I didn’t score enough runs [this winter]. I had quite a good game at Melbourne but apart from that it was pretty poor.

“If you play for a long time – unless you’re Don Bradman, which I’m certainly not – you have periods where run-making is harder than in other periods.

“It was one of those winters where it didn’t quite click, which can happen against the best bowlers in the world.

“You can make a couple of mistakes and suddenly the series can pass you by before you get into it. You kind of feel you haven’t done anything and it is incredibly frustrating.”

England’s first Test against Pakistan starts at Lord’s on 24 May with the second and final game of the series set for Headingley from 1 June.

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