London: Essex have decided against recalling England Test captain Alastair Cook into their side for the domestic Twenty20 quarter-final away to Warwickshire on Thursday.(Ashes Live Coverage)
Cook was one of a quarter of Ashes-winners cleared to represent their counties in the week between the end of the fourth Test, which saw England beat Australia by an innings and 78 runs to go 3-1 up in the five-match series, and the start of rhe fifth Test at The Oval in south London on August 20.
All-rounder Moeen Ali (Worcestershire) and wicket-keeper Jos Buttler (Lancashire) are set to represent their respective counties, with experienced batsman Ian Bell in line to play for Warwickshire.
But Essex have decided to keep faith with the team that have taken them this far in the tournament, rather than bring in Cook — better-known for his exploits in red ball rather than white-ball cricket and dropped from England’s one-day squad ahead of this year’s World Cup.
“I spoke with Alastair at the start of the week to discuss the possibility of bringing him into the squad for the quarter-final on Thursday,” said Essex coach Paul Grayson on Tuesday.
“After discussions between myself, Alastair and one-day captain Ryan ten Doeschate, we all agreed that we would give the group of players who have featured throughout the competition the chance to travel to Edgbaston to try and get us to finals day.”
Cook, who has four Twenty20 international caps compared to 118 in Tests has, because of his England commitments, featured just once for Essex in this season’s Twenty20 tournament, making eight in the six-wicket group-stage win over Surrey at The Oval in June.
Grayson added: “He is 100 percent behind the decision, and I’m sure he will be travelling up to the ground to support the lads on the day.
“You cannot question the attributes that Alastair would bring to the current side, but this group of players have been together now through the whole NatWest T20 Blast competition so will continue into the next stage as we look to progress further to finals day.”