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Handling Malinga key to our chances, says Cook

England captain says it's important to move on from off-field distractions and focus on the match tomorrow

Handling Malinga key to our chances, says Cook - Cricket News
England captain Alastair Cook during an ODI.
As England captain have you got anything to add to what's been said already about what happened in Birmingham? 
No, I don’t think I have. I think that statement is a fair reflection of what happened.  

What is your reaction as a captain to what has happened? 
Clearly disappointed that the incident happened. But after obviously investigating on our side, we are – we don’t believe we’ve done anything wrong, so, yeah, it’ a shame that it happened and it has marred probably what was a very good win for us as a one-day team. But, yeah, it’s time to move on now, especially from us, and we’ve got a very important game that we have to play tomorrow.    

As a captain, as a team and as a body, are you totally satisfied that David Warner wasn't provoked in any way? 
No, I mean, we've obviously done our investigation. We're very happy with that explanation.    

Lots of people are filling in the gaps and assuming they know what happened. Was he wearing fancy dress, a fake wig, was he wearing something that may have been deemed inappropriate? 
I don't know, I wasn't there to know the exact details, so I think it's very important – the statement has gone out, and us as an England side, we’ve obviously investigated the matter, and we believe that we haven't done anything wrong as a player. Clearly our conduct as international players and England as a team is vitally important, and we are aware of the position we hold as players and how lucky we are and how responsible we are to wear an England shirt.  It's a matter which we’ve have taken seriously, as well.    

Any young man is allowed to let off steam. I don’t think we ever want a situation where players can’t go out in the evening. Just in the middle of a tournament at 2:00 in the morning you're comfortable that some of your players for whatever reason were in a bar? 
Yeah, I think it's not often you get to win international games, and I think when the schedule allows you, as long as it's within certain parametres which we set as a team. We didn't have training for a couple of days. Clearly if it's a back-to-back game it's a different issue. So, it’s -- yeah, we had a couple days off and a couple days of training, so yeah, you don't often get those conditions in a tournament. So it's very important to do sometimes to let your hair down because to celebrate wins also builds team spirit.    

Tell us how Joe is. It is not often that people get into altercations in bars. How has he handled it and dealt with the situation? Is he hurt? What's his state of mind going forward? 
Yeah, I think he seems fine. There’s certainly no physical injury or anything like that. He's training very well. He just wants to get the matter buried and play cricket. He's an excellent young man, and he's been excellent since he's come into the England cricket team. It's unfortunate this has happened, but he wants to put it behind him, and he's a quality player, as well.    

Was it an official ICC function? Were many of the team there? 
It wasn't an official ICC function, no. I think there were a couple members of the team there, as well, yeah. I wasn't there, so I'm hearing sort of it secondhand, as well.    

About Malinga, Lasith Malinga - he has obviously got a record here in England. He had a fantastic spell the other day against New Zealand. Can you actually practice for --  I don’t know, in the nets there were – trying some throw downs with a swinging action, but can you practice for those yorkers, especially those low ones that he;s bowling these days? 
Clearly he's obviously a dangerous man for Sri Lanka. He's a mighty fine bowler and a very elite bowler in terms of he's got a very different technique or bowling action than you come across very often. Most of us have faced him before, I think it's only Rooty out of the top five or six, I think, I don't know about Joss, whether he’s faced him or not. It does take a little bit of time to get used to his action, so we're trying to obviously help pass on some experience facing him before as a side. Of course he’s tricky. He's a very good bowler, and he's a major part of their success. So if we can play him well as a batting unit, it will really put Sri Lanka under some pressure.    

Is Graeme Swann fit and available for selection for tomorrow's game., and do you get the sense that having won so convincingly against Australia that you start to build some momentum going into the rest of the summer? 
Swanny is fit. Yeah, he is fit.  It is one of those strange ones when he must have jarred his back or something and woke up with a stiff back and that can happen, but at the moment he's fully fit and available for selection, but it was a good win against New Zealand and it was a good win in that last game against New Zealand, as well. I'm glad those two games were played, the first two games against New Zealand, they seem to be out of the way. We seem to have recovered a bit of form and a bit of confidence. It's a vitally important game tomorrow. We'll make real big strides to get into the semi- final by winning tomorrow, so that’s how important the game is.    

It is a huge game that keeps getting bigger. Is that what's great about this tournament, the fact that the games all come thick and fast and all mean so much? 
I think -- we were just discussing in the change room before practice how much we’ve enjoyed this tournament, in terms of every time you watch the TV, the game, you know there's something really important on in that game. As players you feel that. You feel every time you play in this tournament so far. We've only played one but we know how important it is to have a good start, and now that we’ve had a good start we know how important this game is. If you make mistakes you get punished quite quickly for them. I think the players like that, and I think it's been very refreshing this tournament.    

A bit more about Malinga’s slower --full toss he offers that is recently added to his repertoire, and a bit about James Anderson, the way he's reversing his ball these days 
Yeah, obviously he's learnt – Malinga has obviously improved that style of ball and looked very dangerous against New Zealand the other day. Something which we need to be aware of, and clearly we’ve got footage of it, but, you know, he’s out there, you're trying to watch the ball as hard as you can when you face him. It's one of those once you get into the rhythm of facing, him you get used to the action but the first few balls can be quite tricky. Yeah, it’s trying to get to you. And yeah, we bowled pretty well in that game against Australia.    

You got a lot of reverse swing early in that game against Australia to the point that  George Bailey yesterday said that people need to watch – said that they don’t get reverse swing, it’s something to watch. Insinuation that might seem a bit doubtful about it. Can you explain how you do it, that you’re comfortable that everything was above board? 
Yeah, we are, and that square allowed that to happen at Edgbaston, clearly how dry that ball was very early on. I mean, I've never seen that square at Edgbaston be so dry and with so many wickets cut, it gave us an advantage, so when the ball did get hit in there it did stuck up nicely and we also got the skill of the bowlers to do that, those three especially, and Finny, as well, when the ball reverses they’re very dangerous bowlers. We know how important getting the ball to move is. Whether it's just turning a little bit or normal swing, the difference that is for a ball going down barrel straight is vitally important, so, as a side, all 11 of us have that responsibility to look after that.    

Is it the same track which was used in the previous game, and if yes, will swing come into play, as well? 
I don't think it is the same track, but you'd probably have to ‑‑ I actually haven't thought about that. It looks a fresh one.

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