Ashes: Burns needs to evolve technique for surviving in international cricket, warns Cook

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Former England captain Alastair Cook has warned that opener Rory Burns needs to evolve his unorthodox technique in order to survive in international cricket.

Cook’s comments came after Burns edged Mitchell Starc to second slip for just four on day two of second Ashes Test in Adelaide.

It has been a horror tour for Burns, who was bowled first ball by Starc in the Ashes opener in Brisbane and has scored just 17 runs in three innings of the ongoing marquee series. In 2021, Burns has a century and three fifties but has six ducks as well.

Cook, an accomplished opener for England in Test cricket for more than a decade, believes Burns has to find a solution to be a reliable opener.

“He’s almost at that point now where if he wants to take that next step on in international cricket does he have to evolve again? He’s been very consistent with this technique at county cricket. This is what he’s going to stick to. You’re always told in international cricket do what you do in county cricket, don’t change how you play. It is probably getting to the stage now where he’ll have to sit down himself and say, this is what I’ve got with my technique, if I want to play even longer for England and play 60, 70, 80 Test matches for England, what do I need to improve?,” said Cook on BT Sport.

“To start against international quality bowling is tough. It is a hard place to bat. When Rory Burns gets in, he’s ok. His inconsistency will be due to having moving parts and getting them all in sync is very hard. This is a method he has worked out himself. You’re not going to teach anyone to bat like that, just like Steve Smith worked out his method. He’s gone ‘this is how I play cricket and score my runs,” added Cook, who played 161 Tests for England.

Adelaide was also the second time where Starc dismissed Burns in the Ashes. Further delving on what the future holds for Burns, Cook remarked, “It is a technique that he has to decide what he’s going to do about. Mitchell Starc for the next five Test matches, if he stays fit, is the perfect combination against him. This does work for Rory Burns on occasions but to be more consistent early on in his innings.

“I think he needs to think about how he gets that bat coming down. It is in Rory Burns’ hands still. He has one more opportunity (in the second innings) to put what we’re talking about to bed. Can he put that there and perform? If he scores a hundred he then gets to play some more games because he’s earned the right.”

At the same time, Cook acknowledged the perils of making technical tweaks in the middle of a series.

“The problem is tinkering with your technique in the middle of a massive series, you’re then batting in a game maybe thinking about technique is not what you want to be doing. The only thing you want to be doing is committing or watching the ball as it’s coming down. You’ve got to keep your mind as clear as you can,” he said.

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