England will miss the calming influence Alastair Cook has in the dressing room environment, particularly on their upcoming tour to Sri Lanka, according to assistant coach Paul Farbrace who spoke as Cook ended the third day at The Oval unbeaten on 46.
Cook had walked out to a rapturous standing ovation from a full house at The Oval for his final international innings and by the close was within touching distance of making twin fifties in the match – with the fairytale finish of a century still on offer.
“He’s been pretty calm,” said Farbrace. “I would imagine that the reception he got tonight when he went out to bat I think it probably moved him. It moved everybody else in our dressing room how fantastic the support he’s had.”
“I think he just showed everything he’s about so far in this game. He’s all about waiting for the right ball in the right place but he’s just looked pretty organised and got stuck in. It’s not easy out there, it’s been quite tough, but he’s looks as though he’s really enjoying the scrap doesn’t he?
“He just seems to cope with everything that’s in front of him and I think, as much as we are going to miss his runs and his catches, I think the calming influence that he has amongst the team, amongst the staff, amongst everybody, his calm way about going about things, doing things, dealing with what comes from media and television. You know he copes with that or seems to cope with that very well and I think that’s something well all miss that when he’s not in that dressing room.”
Farbrace also gave an insight into Cook’s role in making newcomers feel welcome in the England camp and suggested that aspect of his character would be immediately missed on the first tour without him in the side.
“When I came into the group in 2014 he was captain of the side and made it so easy to be a member of staff for the English cricket team,” said Farbrace. “It’s quite a daunting thing to come into having never played international cricket.”
“He’s a very caring bloke and he’s someone you can talk to about anything and everything and I think the young players who have come into the team this year have found him to be exactly that.
“What he manages to do is make everybody feel very welcome, very part of things. Young players, old players, he seems to have the respect of everybody and everybody’s very comfortable talking to him. He’s got a very down to earth way of being, he’s got a very cheeky sense of humour and people find themselves being drawn to him and I think that’s something, come Sri Lanka, that a lot of people will be looking around realising he’s not there and I think then people will start to realise what an impact he’s had on them and us as a team.”