Broad: Senior players must step up for Cook

England

England fast bowler Stuart Broad feels the pressure on skipper Alastair Cook is coming only from the outside, and that the senior players will step up against India to help their skipper get a series win.

England fast bowler Stuart Broad feels the pressure on skipper Alastair Cook is coming only from the outside, and that the senior players will step up against India to help their skipper get a series win.

England lost the recent Test series one-nil to Sri Lanka, with Cook under heavy fire for his poor batting form and uninspired captaincy. But Broad, writing in the <i>Daily Mail</i>, felt it was up to the older players to come to the party.

As it was, young guns like Joe Root, Gary Ballance, Sam Robson and Moeen Ali all did well with the bat, while Cook, Matt Prior and Ian Bell were less successful. Broad was pleased with the way the new lads performed.

Broad said: "Of course we were bitterly disappointed to lose to Sri Lanka by the narrowest of margins but there's huge encouragement for the future. We now have an environment where young players can thrive.

"Root, Ballance, Robson, Ali, Jordan and Plunkett have all come into the dressing room and been able to perform.

"You read all winter about certain players saying how awkward they found the Australian tour but you can ask all 11 players involved in the Sri Lanka series how much they enjoyed it.

"Yes we lost but we are enjoying our cricket again and there's a team environment where we can go out and play. That's the single biggest improvement from the winter.

"Now it's up to the senior players to perform to the levels that are expected of them. Matty, Cooky, Belly, myself and Jimmy have got to take a lot of responsibility. We can all up our game and if we do, we'll be a force to be reckoned with."

Broad also wrote that skipper Cook was calm despite the storm surrounding him, and that he was taking no notice of the critics on social media and such, despite his recent emotional reaction to Shane Warne and the like.

Broad said: "Of course Alastair Cook will feel a bit of pressure at the moment because there are people on the outside trying to apply it to him, but let me assure you every person in that England dressing room knows he is one of our 'gun' batsmen and our leader to take us forward.

"The key for Cooky is to block out the noise on the outside and listen to the guys who are in the changing room and enjoy the great team spirit we've got now.

"One thing is for sure, Cooky won't be at home worrying about what's being said on Twitter or written in the media. He'll be too busy with the lambs and chickens on his farm.

"Things can be built up from outside the bubble of the dressing room with so much chatter going on, but when we are in there Cooky is very much his usual, calm self. We spend a lot of the time talking about his farm and how he's got to get back home to mow the lawn, rather than what anyone might be saying.

"He's never been an overly demonstrative guy or someone who jumps on chairs and rants and raves. He's always been a calm presence in the dressing room and he still is just that. It's what has made him the world-class player he's been over the past 10 years."

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