Cook faces Steven Finn selection puzzle


England captain Alastair Cook admits he and coach Andy Flower face a tough decision as to whether to pick Steven Finn for the third Test against India. The Middlesex pace bowler is fit after a thigh injury, and could replace vice-captain Stuart Broad for the Test in Kolkata, which starts on Wednesday. “He increases the competition for places,” Cook told BBC Sport.
“It makes selection hard for a captain and coach, but it’s where you want to be.” The four-match series stands at 1-1 with two to play. India won the first Test in Ahmedabad by nine wickets, but England then triumphed the second in Mumbai by 10 wickets. Cook was pleased with the way his players responded to their first Test defeat, and has called on them to carry that form into the match at Eden Gardens.
“When we lost the toss, if you’d have said that three-and-a-half days later, we’d have won by 10 wickets, I think we would have surprised ourselves,” added Cook. “But as I said all along, we’ve got some world-class players, and those guys really stood up and delivered. “And we’ll need four or five people producing outstanding performances. That’s what it takes to win out here.” Cook is looking for Monty Panesar and Graeme Swann to build on a performance in Mumbai that saw them take 19 of India’s 20 wickets between.
“I think they out-bowled India in that game,” Cook said. “I think they were outstanding. “As a captain, you want more, don’t you? I would love them to back it up again in different circumstances, in different conditions. We’re going to have to adapt a bit, but to back that up again would be another great effort.” There been controversy surrounding the preparation of the pitch in the build-up to the third Test. India captain Mahendra Dhoni reportedly asked for the wicket at Eden Gardens to help the spinners from the first day. Groundsman Prabir Mukherjee described the request as “immoral” – but has since resolved his concerns. Cook said: “It’s going to be tough. I think it’s more like Ahmedabad, the wicket. I think it’s going to be a slow turner, rather than a Mumbai wicket, that turned and bounced a bit more. “We’re going to have to adapt our skills again. But that’s the beauty of a tour, and a touring game, when you play in all sorts of conditions. “Whichever side adapts to those conditions well will do well.” The series in India is Cook’s first as England Test captain, having succeeded Andrew Strauss in August. He said: “I feel as if I am coping. I was tired after Mumbai. It was probably slightly foolish to be at short leg in that first innings. “Sometimes you have to give a little bit more. I was tired at the end of that game, but it was all worth it. ”I’ve really enjoyed this tour. It’s a great start for me. As a captain, you end up learning so much, from the beginning of the tour to where we are now, and where I hope to be in a couple of years’ time. “You’re just learning all the time as a captain. The only place you can learn is by doing it out there, so that when it comes round again, you’ve experienced it and you trust your decision-making.
England: Alastair Cook (capt), Nick Compton, Joe Root, Jonathan Trott, Kevin Pietersen, Ian Bell, Eoin Morgan, Matt Prior (wk), Jonny Bairstow, Samit Patel, Graeme Swann, Monty Panesar, James Anderson, Tim Bresnan, Stuart Broad, Steven Finn, Graham Onions, James Tredwell.
India: Mahendra Dhoni (capt, wk), Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Cheteshwar Pujara, Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, Ajinkya Rahane, Ravichandran Ashwin, Pragyan Ojha, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Ishant Sharma, Murali Vijay, Ashok Dinda.