London: Andy Flower, the England team director, has praised Alastair Cook for the way he has handled the dual challenges of proving himself as a one-day batsman and captain in the 3-2 series win against Sri Lanka. The silverware was secured with a tight 16-run win at Old Trafford where Cook also took his personal contribution to 298 runs.
Away from the volume of runs, which included a career-best 119 at Lord's, the impressive feature was the strike-rate of 96.75. That number was boosted by his 75-ball 95 at Trent Bridge as Cook provided evidence that he is making strides towards evolving into a effective one-day batsman to supplement his record-breaking Test credentials.
Cook had to face some strong criticism both before and during the series but refused to be drawn into any war of words and constantly said it was performances on the field that were the most important factor. The five matches helped Cook build on the positive impression he made as captain last year when he filled in for Andrew Strauss.