England feeding off rare ‘feelgood factor’
LONDON – England’s cricketers are riding the wave of a rare “feelgood factor” but have put their Cardiff success behind them and are looking only forward, captain Alastair Cook said ahead of the second Ashes test against Australia.
After being vilified for their abject display at the World Cup at the start of the year, England are back in the good books after showing new, attacking intent against New Zealand and then getting off to an Ashes flier with an impressive victory over Australia in the opening test last week.
The second test starts at Lord’s on Thursday and Cook said the players were enjoying the positivity around the team.
“There’s been a feelgood factor in the summer, after a very good one day series and good test series against New Zealand,” Cook told reporters at Lord’s on Wednesday.
“Whether we’ve won or lost there’s been that feelgood factor, everyone’s feeling positive about English cricket again and it’s rubbed off on the players.”
It is not just the fact that England have won a few games that has got the public back on board, but the manner in which they’ve done so, playing with aggression and confidence.
After a shaky opening morning in Cardiff they roared back to dominate in all aspects and were convincing winners against a team who started as strong favourites.
Cook said he expected a stiffer test at Lord’s, where England have a dire record against the tourists.
“They are going to come back hard at us, no doubt about that, so it’s a question of how we respond and how we deal with that.
“We’ve made a good start but it’s all about looking forward.
“We can’t sit back and protect anything. We have to get on the front foot again and it’s absolutely imperative we play to our strengths and stay true to ourselves.
“The Aussies are probably still favourites (for the series) as they have only to retain the Ashes but I do feel we’ve made a big stride forward as a group of players.”
England’s only injury doubt is a slight concern about spinner Moeen Ali, who has a mild side strain but was able to practice batting on Wednesday.
“He’s pretty good. The final call will be made tomorrow but he should be fine and unless he gets a reaction overnight he’ll be okay,” said Cook, who will not want to lose one of his star performers from the first test. – Reuters