Alastair Cook says his back-to-back ODI hundreds, which have steered England a 2-0 lead over Pakistan, are due to a change in his approach to one-day cricket.
Cook became the first England captain to score two consecutive ODI centuries when he made 102 to take his side to a competitive 250 in the second match in Abu Dhabi.
Steven Finn then produced another excellent bowling performance as Cook marshaled his side towards a well executed 20-run win to take them to within one victory of clinching the series.
Essex opener Cook was under pressure from certain pundits in the lead-up to the series, after England were crushed 5-0 by India in their last ODI showing.
But his record with the bat as England’s ODI skipper is an impressive 55.27, with a strike rate of 92.21 – compared to 30.51 at 68.15 before he took over in 2011.
“When I'd played those first 20-odd games, I knew if I wanted to play one-day cricket for England I'd have to improve,” said the 27-year-old.
“I've changed the way I play one-day cricket - I knew I had to improve and score quicker.”
Cook’s conventional approach to opening in ODIs has come in-and-out of fashion since the development of the ‘pinch-hitter’ in the 1990s.
But Cook’s innings’ in Abu Dhabi perfectly illustrated how conventional strokeplay can flourish at ODI level – particularly with a new ball now being used from each end.
Geoffrey Boycott, a member of MCC’s World Cricket Committee, was full of praise for Cook – describing the England opener as the ‘complete’ player.
“It was totally different to how he played in the Test matches,” he said.
“His feet are moving well, he's getting right forward and right back. He seems to have a wider range of shot.
“He is driving through the covers and punching the ball off the back foot.
“He looks like the complete player so you start to think why didn't he play like that in when you needed 140 to win the Test in Abu Dhabi?”