England ignore media criticism

Alastair Cook's England will waste no precious energy or concentration, before the second Test against India, fretting about media criticism following their defeat in Ahmedabad.

Cook, on his first tour as permanent Test captain, was at pains to stress that the opinions of experts, former players and other pundits will not distract his team from the important business of trying to level the four-match series in Mumbai.

The captain insists, however, neither he nor his team-mates have any gripes with forthright views expressed - because they are something international players need to be able to handle. He said: "That's what the media is. You know as players that if you perform well you get praised; if you perform badly there's criticism. That is one of the challenges."

The stakes rise according to a cricketer's profile.

"It's slightly different for an international player than for a county player - you get far more scrutiny," added Cook. "It's how you deal with that and the extra pressure that determines how you perform out there. Everyone has got a right to criticise when you play badly. That's your job; that's what punditry is."

Cook has no worries either that any of his players may be distracted by public criticism.

"Not really. I'm concerned about what happened in the last game," he said. "I'm concerned we learn from that; I'm concerned that we improve on the field. Every player has slightly different ways of coping with the media. But I know that when we turn up to train we will be fully focused on that, and that's the only way you can do it."

Kevin Pietersen has so far escaped major scrutiny, despite a lack of productivity in his comeback Test following his summer of discontent and 'reintegration'. Cook is swift to endorse the mercurial batsman's world-class standing nonetheless.

"He held his hands up and he didn't perform very well last week," he admitted. "You don't need to tell him that. He knows that, and anyone who has ever written off KP in the past has been proved very wrong very quickly. He is a world-class player and he has scored hundreds everywhere around the world.

"Yes, he had a bad game - like we can all have bad games - but you write KP off at your peril."

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