Cook: 'In one sense, I feel a little sorry for Rashid'

Adil Rashid's subsequent call-up for national duty has not gone down well with his county side.

Alastair Cook during a nets session.   -  Getty Images

Former England captain Alastair Cook had to field a volley of questions regarding Adil Rashid, whose selection in the squad for the first Test has stirred a hornet's nest.

The Yorkshire leg-spinner declared earlier this year that he would play only limited-overs cricket, and made himself unavailable for first-class action.

His subsequent call-up for national duty has not gone down well with his county side.

“In one sense, I feel a little bit sorry for Adil – all the political side of the selection, rather than looking at him," Cook said.

"I can understand why it's caused a bit of fuss. But you just have to get on with it, look at the positives. We've got a different style of English spinner, with a little bit of mystery to him, who's bowling really well. That is what we should be excited about – not really what's happening off-field, the Yorkshire stuff and all that."

Cook brushed aside talk of India's top order being weak, given the unconvincing form of Shikhar Dhawan and Cheteshwar Pujara.

"With very good players, form is certainly temporary," he said. "They've scored in the past, over a sustained period of time. That's why they're the number one side in the world. You can go a couple of innings not scoring any runs, and suddenly you get a couple away and start to get that rhythm and timing back – and you get a big one. That is the nature of the beast, certainly with top-order batting."

England is ranked fifth in Test cricket, and Cook admitted the team was a long way away from the side of 2011 which reached number one.

"To become the number one side in the world, it takes two or three years of really good results and we haven’t had that," he said.

"That side in 2011 - that was probably the end of two or three years playing really good cricket with the same 14 or 15 players. We’re a little bit away from that and that’s the challenge this time."

Cook was not worried that James Anderson (36) and Stuart Broad (32) may struggle to get through five Tests in the space of six weeks.

"I think it is realistic. Even four or five years ago, the same question was being asked about those two guys. Can they play in all five games or in back-to-back Ashes series. And it always amazes me how many times they manage to get through it. It’s testament to their fitness. Hopefully they can, but if they can’t it’s an opportunity for someone else," he said.