Alastair Cook rested by Essex

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Football News

Essex have resisted the temptation to bring England Test captain Alastair Cook into their team for the NatWest T20 Blast quarter-final against Birmingham Bears at Edgbaston.

Cook became available between the fourth and fifth Investec Tests, after England freed up their Ashes-winners to their respective counties for the last-eight stage of the Twenty20 competition.

Worcestershire and Lancashire jumped at the chance to field their players, all-rounder Moeen Ali and Jos Buttler respectively, this week.


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But Essex and Cook have come to a mutual decision to allow those who have reached the knockout stages in his absence to continue the campaign in Thursday's match.

Essex head coach Paul Grayson said: "I spoke with Alastair at the start of the week to discuss the possibility of bringing him into the squad for the quarter-final on Thursday.

"After discussions between myself, Alastair and one-day captain Ryan ten Doeschate, we all agreed that we would give the group of players who have featured throughout the competition the chance to travel to Edgbaston to try and get us to finals day."

Cook, who has four Twenty20 international caps compared to his 118 in Tests, has featured just once - when his England commitments permitted - for Essex in this year's Blast, making eight runs in the six-wicket group victory over Surrey at The Oval in early June.

Grayson added: "He is 100 per cent behind the decision, and I'm sure he will be travelling up to the ground to support the lads on the day.

"You cannot question the attributes that Alastair would bring to the current side, but this group of players have been together now through the whole NatWest T20 Blast competition so will continue into the next stage as we look to progress further to finals day."

Birmingham have the option of fielding five-time Ashes-winner Ian Bell against Essex, after England also made him available before the final Test at The Oval next week.

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