England captain Alastair Cook said he has seen enough potential in his team to believe they can regain the Ashes against Australia this summer, provided they make considerable progress in the weeks to come.
Cook’s side, including six players who had played 13 Tests or fewer, were beaten by 199 runs by New Zealand at Headingley to draw the series 1-1 – having been set 455 to win.
“They are fantastic players,” said Cook. “Clearly they haven’t scored the runs they would have liked and they have five weeks to get some form in county cricket. There will be concern because they haven’t scored the runs, but form comes and goes. Two games in isolation does not make you a bad player.”
The captain was also confident the struggling Moeen Ali could recapture the form that saw the off-spinner take 19 wickets at 23 at home to India last year. “What I do like about him, he does spin the ball hard, he gets a lot of revs on it, so if he can get that control back like he had against India we know he can be a threat,” Cook said.
“I believe there are reasons to be positive. I know that’s a sportsman’s cliché but we have seen the emergence of some cricketers with a big future. Mark Wood bowled quickly, Ben Stokes has taken a step forward and Adam Lyth scored his first Test hundred on his home ground. We have struggled with consistency over the past year or so. We have played some good Test cricket in patches, but not in others. To win a series or a match you need to win those crucial moments.”, he added.
Bell, Ballance and Moeen are among seven players from England’s World Cup squad who have been left out of the upcoming one-day series against New Zealand, which begins next Tuesday.