The Ashes: England's Alastair Cook plays down reports of Australian discord
Stories of disharmony in the Australian camp will have little bearing on the second Ashes Test, says Alastair Cook.
Last Updated: 18/07/13 10:38am
Preparation for the Ashes series for the tourists was widely regarded as a shambles with the suspension of opener David Warner and the sacking of coach Mickey Arthur.
And on the eve of the Lord's showdown starting on Thursday, Michael Clarke has had to respond to claims that his squad was divided with Arthur, who is suing Cricket Australia for his dismissal, saying the captain had described ex-vice skipper Shane Watson as a "cancer" in the side.
But Cook rejected any suggestion the players would be affected by the saga and said: "For us as a side it's of little relevance.
"We all saw what a tough and close Test it was at Trent Bridge. So for us it doesn't matter what's going on off the field because of the high quality cricket on it."
England will be in buoyant mood after snatching victory in Nottingham by 14 runs at the weekend, although there will be concerns the weary players will fail to match the drama considering the quick turnaround of the second Test.
"Lord's is a fantastic setting to play an Ashes Test," added Cook. "There will be no need for any extra motivation. Whatever happened last week has gone. The bodies will be tired but you can always go again for what it is another crucial Test match."
Speculation mounts on whether paceman Steve Finn will be replaced by Tim Bresnan or Graham Onions after a spluttering effort at Trent Bridge and Cook refused to be drawn on whether there would be changes.
Some critics have urged the England selectors to stick with the status quo, particularly considering Middlesex's Finn will be playing on his home ground, but Cook said: "You're always trying to find the balance in attack for different conditions.
"Past form is very important but you can't always go by what happened two years ago - you have to weigh all that up and hopefully get the right answer. You try to be as loyal as you can to your players who won the Test match, you want to give people a feeling of confidence in the side and get a good run.
"But on the other hand you pick a side which you think is going to win that game. And I think sometimes you have to make tough decisions, every situation is different. I would love to say that players under me feel as though I have got their support but you have to make tough decisions for the good of the side.
"We'll make decisions by Thursday morning, by the toss. We're in a fine position at the moment in terms of fast bowling stocks. We've got a lot of very good fast bowlers and it's always a tough call."
With 10-wicket hero Jimmy Anderson coming off the pitch on Sunday during the climax of the second Test with cramp, Cook assured England fans he is "sore" but raring to go again.
It was also revealed that no cover will be necessary for wicketkeeper Matt Prior following a mild Achilles concern.