Chennai: England captain Alastair Cook, on Thursday, said missing his career's first pre-match net session did not seem too important considering the sufferings that the people of city had to endure in the wake of Cyclone Vardah.
The southern metropolis has been ravaged by the cyclone that left in its wake, large-scale destruction. The catastrophe did not spare the iconic Chepauk stadium either. But fortunately the square and the outfield have not been damaged.
Training sessions were cancelled both the days before the Test owing to a wet ground, despite the stadium boasting of one of the best drainage systems in the country.
"Cricket players face all kinds of situations. I think it is my 140th game, and I have never played in a game where we haven't had nets but sometimes you have to remember what happened in the cyclone, people lost their lives," said Cook on the eve of the fifth and final Test between India and England.
"So, a nets session a day before doesn't seem quite as important as what people have gone through. We are only driving from hotel to here, airport to hotel. Looking around, it is a reminder how lucky we are," he added.
In their quest to get the venue ready in time, the ground staff were, on Wednesday, seen using burning coal to dry the pitch to be used for the match, which was rendered inconsequential after India wrapped up the five-Test series in the last Test in Mumbai by taking an unassailable 3-0 lead.
"In cricket, everything happens so quickly. 2014 looks a long time ago, 2012 seems long time ago, 2011 seems even further away. Like everything you debrief, you talk about stuff, that is just what happens in teams. Good things happen, bad things happen. We are very proud to represent England and we have got an opportunity in the next five days to do that," Cook said.
"We have competed with India in this series, but we just haven't been good enough when it got tight to contain them. And India has been better than us in winning those game. Credit to them."
James Anderson may have been ruled out of the Test because of an injury but Cook said the veteran pacer can contribute to English cricket for the next couple of years.
Anderson was, on Thursday, ruled out of the fifth and final Test due to "body soreness". Asked if Anderson can get through till Ashes, Cook replied in positive.
"Yes, I'm very confident he can. It's not about getting through, he can make a big contribution to English cricket over the next couple of years. I think we have to manage him slightly bit more than we have in Test matches. Not when he plays, he might miss a couple of Test matches which is precautionary just after what's happened over the last six months.
"His body after six months, a couple of months off from now, after some serious hard training and can really recover from stuff, his body might fly. He's a very athletic guy. He's going to rely on his body as a bowler. Not Freddie Flintoff, who pounds on his body. So obviously a lot lighter, he does have a lot less wear and tear.
"Over the last couple of months he's picked a lot of niggles and his shoulder is off. I think it's not about him getting through, I think he can still make a lot of contribution to English cricket over the next couple of years."...