Alastair Cook lauds England’s ‘scary’ one-day squad depth

ANTIGUA, ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA - JANUARY 3 Ex England captain Alastair Cook during a net session at Sir Vivian Richards Stadium on January 30, 2019 in St John's, Antigua and Barbuda. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Former England captain Sir Alastair Cook has lauded the tremendous depth of the current white-ball group.

The ongoing pandemic has forced England to pick not only enlarged training groups for international matches but also forced specialisation of format and rotation on Chris Silverwood’s team.

In essence, what all of that means is that England look set to expose more players than usual to international cricket this summer.

Ireland captain Andrew Balbirnie has made it clear that his team recognise the threat posed by England.

England opener Jason Roy this week described the team’s depth as ‘scary’, a sentiment Cook wholeheartedly agreed with in a recent chat with Sky Sports.

Cook urged the players who had been given an opportunity to play for England to make the most of their shot.

“Whenever your time comes to play for England, whatever the side that is picked, even if there’s guys rested or injured, you’ve got to take this opportunity,” Cook said.

Cook specifically mentioned Tom Banton, who looks set to benefit from the absence of a clutch of top batsmen and the returning Reece Topley. Topley last played an ODI for England over four years ago, enjoying a good series against South Africa before a series of stress fracture’s put his career in danger.

“People like Tom Banton, Reece Topley back into that side, what an opportunity for these guys to push their names forward,” Cook added.

“I think Jason Roy said it yesterday, the strength in depth in England one-day cricket is scary, and I think you’re seeing it.

“You’ve got four or five first-team regulars who are [not] in the side. Who would come back in the side but you know the strength in depth is that England are still putting out a very very strong side.

“Hopefully the conditions are like this,” Cook said from a sunny Chelmsford, “I am sure they are, today is sunny, and they can put on a great spectacle.”

The One-Day International series between England and Ireland comprises three matches played between 30 July and 4 August. All three matches will be played at the Rose Bowl in Southampton.