England skipper rued the fact that England failed to cash in on their chances. (Photo: PTI)
Mumbai: Alastair Cook made no attempt to hide his disappointment after losing the Test series against India here on Monday. R Ashwin scalped the last four England wickets as the Virat Kohli-led unit needed just over 30 minutes on Day 5 to win the fourth Test by an innings and 36 runs.
The England skipper also rued the fact that England failed to cash in on their chances.
"It is just frustrating. To beat India in these conditions you have to play the perfect game and we haven’t managed to do that. If you have to take 14 wickets against these batters in these conditions, it puts you behind a bit. Clearly India are a very confident side in these conditions and that happens from winning a lot of games previously in these conditions. They had opportunities to take the game and they did it," Cook said.
While Cook successfully led England in their come-from-behind series win in India four years ago, he said that Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid are still not in the same league of Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar, who dismantled MS Dhoni and Co. in 2012.
"No disrespect to Mo (Moeen Ali) and Rash (Adil Rashid) but Swann and Panesar were world class bowlers in 2012. In these conditions, you need that. Mo and Rash have bowled well but they are not yet in that league of Swann and Panesar.
"I don’t mean that disrespectfully at all and that is why we need a slightly different balance to the side. In 2012 we could play the four bowlers, two seamers and two spinners, but in this side we need more options," added England leading run-getter in Tests.
Cook, meanwhile, was wholesome in his praise for R Ashwin. The Indian off-spinner struggled in 2012 series as England batsmen milked runs against him. However, Ashwin, who now has 27 wickets in the series, scalped 12 wickets in the Mumbai Test to torment the visitors.
"It is very difficult (to face Ashwin). He has bowled well and improved massively as a bowler over the last couple of years. He does not miss length too much. As a spinner, if you don’t miss length, (then) you are always putting the batsman under pressure. He does not bowl many bad balls and you can see now his confidence is sky high and he is bowling more variations because he has that control," said Cook.
"Credit to him, he is certainly a lot better bowler than he was a couple of years ago. That is down to hard work and that is what happens in the game. If you work hard enough and you are good enough you get your rewards," added Cook.
Although India opted for three-spinner attack through out the series, England’s tactic to have an extra pacer, instead of a spinner, in the playing XI in the Mumbai Test, backfired.
While the likes of Moeen and Rashid, in addition to part-timer Joe Root, bowled 118.3 overs, the pace attack comprising of James Anderson, Jake Ball, Chris Woakes and Ben Stokes bowled just 64 overs as India amassed 631 runs in 182.3 overs.
"In Mohali, a lot of people misread the wicket. It wasn’t just myself. Even when we won the toss I think the word was you wait until it spins from day one from one of their players and it didn’t really spin. It was not just us there," Cook said.
"Here (in Mumbai) we knew it was going to spin. But one thing we have strength and depth in is our seamers and we can get control with our seamers, if it not spinning a huge amount. Generally here in Mumbai, it spins slightly later on in the game but it spun pretty much from ball one and last time in 2012 it didn’t and the pitch looked exactly the same.
"We went for that option to try and give us more control and our best two spinners on this tour, and I don’t mean to be disrespectful to Gareth (Batty) and Zafar (Ansari), have been Mo and Rash," added Cook.
Cook also spoke about his future as England’s Test captain and whether Root is ready to lead the England side. Ahead of the India series, Cook had indicated he may step down England captaincy to devote more time to his young family.
"I think Joe Root is ready to captain England. He's ready because he's a clued on guy, he's got the respect of everyone in the changing room. He hasn't got much captaincy experience but that doesn't mean he can't be a very good captain," said Cook.
"Those comments I made don't change. It sticks true to the end of this series. My position hasn't changed whether we won this game or lost. I will sit down with Straussy (Andrew Strauss - England's Director of Cricket) in the new year (after the Test series), like we made that pact to always talk openly and honestly about stuff.
"You start having questions, of course you do. Naturally you look at stuff. Clearly it's a hard place to come on tour with the balance of our squad," he added, referring to England's lack of world-class spinners as his future as England’s Test skipper is on a shaky ground following the series loss in India.