England captain Alastair Cook has defended his decision to declare late into day 5 of the first Test against India in Rajkot saying it was a ‘fair declaration’. The Englishman has insisted that the pitch was not a ‘minefield’ and that they did not want to give India a chance to win the game.
England ended day 4 with a lead of 163, and they were expected to declare early on the final day after scoring at a brisk pace. However, Cook and his partner Haseeb Hameed took their time to get going in the first session of day 5, and by the time they declared very few overs were left for the English bowlers to pick up 10 Indian wickets.
Eventually, the hosts lost 6 wickets in the 52 overs they faced, and the English skipper came under a lot of criticism for opting to play it safe. With a few more overs in hand, England could have taken the lead in this series at Rajkot.
However, Cook has defended the call by saying, "The reason behind it is we didn't want to give India a sniff.
"Batting just to survive is a lot different than chasing 260, 270 - on the same wicket (on which) we were 180 for
"It (the wicket) wasn't a minefield. The oddball did a bit. Maybe a braver person would have set them 240, but I thought it was a fair declaration, especially for the first game of the series," he said, reported AFP.