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Page last updated at 12:11 GMT, Wednesday, 24 March 2010

England captain Alastair Cook praised by coach Flower

Alastair Cook
Cook's 12th Test century came from 156 balls

England coach Andy Flower said Alastair Cook will be a "better player, captain and person" for his experiences leading his country in Bangladesh.

Cook's team beat the Tigers by nine wickets in Mirpur to wrap up the Test series 2-0, having already won all three games in the one-day series.

"This experience will leave him stronger," said Flower.

"I've no concern [about Cook rejoining the ranks], he'll just be a much better lieutenant for this experience."

Cook scored his 12th Test century and hit the winning runs on Wednesday, and Flower said the Essex opener had "grown every day".

Flower said: "He's been superb, really good as a leader. He feels more comfortable in the role now, so the opportunity we had to expose him to a bit of leadership was a valuable one to take and in the long run it will be a very good thing to him, and hopefully for England.

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"He's led from the front with the bat, starting with the one-dayers where he played very aggressive knocks, and then he's done it again in a more disciplined fashion in the Tests."

While Cook said he had enjoyed leading his country, he added he would "happily" hand the reigns back to Andrew Strauss for the series against Bangladesh and Pakistan this summer.

"It's been really good for me to get a chance to see how I'm developing as a leader and see the areas I need to get better in," said the 25-year-old.

"And I'm really happy with the way I've batted on this tour, the captaincy hasn't affected it at all. It's one of those feelings you don't get very often, hitting the winning runs when you're England captain.

"But Straussy can come back and take the reigns in May very happily. The lads have been fantastic and we've got a really good coaching staff and support network keeping me going, but it's such a good learning curve to see where I need to getter better at as a leader."

Cook said his team had been confident of making the 209 runs needed for victory in 54 overs, and that once he and Kevin Pietersen, who scored an unbeaten 74, had settled "it became quite easy".

"Once we got the partnership going on this wicket and this outfield it was very hard to stop the scoring," added Cook.

"We were very confident. We just wanted to make sure we had a nice solid start and Trotty [Jonathan Trott] and I did that, I felt a bit bad about running him out.

"It's a great effort from the lads in 40C and on this wicket. We conceded 400 in the first innings but it was actually a really good effort to keep the score down and to have the patience to set up the game and get past them."

Flower added: "It was a very competitive game, they batted really well on an extremely flat deck to get 419 in the first innings and we had to play some very disciplined cricket to get into a winning position.

"There were a few ways we could have gone about it - we could have been very aggressive, but we decided on being very disciplined, got a first innings lead and put them under pressure with the ball.

"I thought the team did very well to turn that game around. I was a bit concerned we might run out of time, and Shakib [Al Hasan] played a very good innings].

"But we always felt we had five bowlers in the side and enough variation to get through those last four wickets this morning."

Flower added that he had warned Stuart Broad about his discipline following a number of incidents during the second Test, although he claimed the media had "made a mountain out of a molehill".

"It's more something you guys in the media are driving," he said. "If he gets pulled up by the match referee or umpires then he'll have to take that on the chin.

"Of course, I've had a word with him about it and I've warned him that he is getting a bit close to the line on some issues.

"Part of his strength is that he's a very competitive man, but he's an adult and he must find a balance."



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see also
Cook steers England to series win
24 Mar 10 |  England
England on course for Mirpur win
23 Mar 10 |  England
Patient Bell puts England ahead
22 Mar 10 |  England
Tigers fume at lack of referrals
22 Mar 10 |  England
England face tough battle in Test
21 Mar 10 |  England
England shade first day honours
20 Mar 10 |  England
Live cricket on the BBC
26 Oct 11 |  Cricket
England in UAE & Bangladesh 2010
23 Feb 10 |  Cricket


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