England can win World T20

South Africa v England: Cook praise for 'exciting' ODI team

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Cook praise for ‘exciting’ ODI team

England can repeat their success of 2010 and win the World Twenty20, says Test captain Alastair Cook.

The T20 side, led by Eoin Morgan, have won their past six matches and on Wednesday named a squad that includes uncapped all-rounder Liam Dawson for the tournament in India in March.

“England have now got players who can win a game of cricket single-handedly,” Cook told BBC Sport.

“They have as good a chance as anybody because of how dangerous they are.”

Cook, England’s highest Test runscorer, added: “In T20 there is always an element of luck.

“The best side wins it but, because it is such a short tournament and a short form of the game, it only takes a team to get on a roll, get a bit of confidence, and they’ll win it.”

Along with their Twenty20 form, a new-look England team have dramatically improved their 50-over cricket since a terrible campaign at the 2015 World Cup.

England open their World T20 campaign on 16 March against West Indies

Morgan’s side have won series against New Zealand and Pakistan, and lead South Africa 2-1 with two matches to play.

“These records that Eoin Morgan and his team are breaking, it seems like every other game, is credit to the way they’ve taken the challenge, a credit to the way Eoin’s captained them and to their talent,” said Cook.

Opener search ‘frustrating’

In leading England to a 2-1 Test series win against South Africa in December and January, Cook opened the batting with Alex Hales, his eighth partner since Andrew Strauss retired in 2012.

Hales averaged only 17 in four matches, failing to guarantee his place for the first Test of the summer against Sri Lanka in May.

“It’s obviously frustrating that no-one’s really grabbed the opportunity,” said left-hander Cook.

“It was tough in South Africa – stats suggest it’s the toughest place to bat up the order. Whether we stick with Alex or try again, that will be an interesting call for the selectors.

“I think that’s an area we have to improve on if we want to go higher up the rankings.”

‘I’d love to play 200 Tests’

March will be the 10th anniversary of Cook’s Test debut, with the Essex batsman having won 126 caps.

The record for most Tests played is held by India batting great Sachin Tendulkar, who earned 200 caps before retiring in 2013 at the age of 40.

“Could I do it? I’d love to do it but you never know what’s around the corner,” said Cook.

“I’ve got to do what I’ve done throughout my career; not look too far ahead. Someone told me if we our next two Test series against Sri Lanka and Pakistan, we’d hold all the Test trophies available to us. That would be a great feat.”

Alastair Cook was the youngest player to 100 Test caps, beating the record of Sachin Tendulkar

‘Cricket should not be elitist’

Cricket participation has come under scrutiny recently, with the England and Wales Cricket Board looking to halt a decline in the number of people who play recreationally.

Cook praised the work of the Chance to Shine charity, which says it has recently coached its three millionth child in state schools, but also shares concerns about cricket’s ongoing relevance to the public.

“Cricket shouldn’t be an elitist game, it shouldn’t only be the people who can afford to who play cricket,” he said.

“Clearly there are some costs with it. Pads and gloves and bats are not cheap. But cricket has to be available for every single person, for every single kid to try. Could we do more? Of course we could.”

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