He's still got the hunger and desire - Stoneman backing Cook to rediscover his best
Mark Stoneman is backing fellow England opener Alastair Cook to bounce back to form after his disappointing displays in Australia and New Zealand.
Former captain Cook struggled for consistency as England surrendered the Ashes with a 4-0 series defeat to Australia, his unbeaten 244 in Melbourne the lone bright spot for him.
His performances on that tour led to speculation over his future, and that was hardly dampened following a 1-0 series loss to New Zealand in which he scored only 23 runs in four innings.
But Stoneman has faith in England's all-time leading Test run scorer to rediscover his best and significantly pad his tally of 12,028 in the longest format.
"He's certainly got the hunger and the desire and he's as fit as ever, pretty much just hasn't scored the runs he wanted to," Stoneman told Omnisport.
"I thought the last innings he played in New Zealand he looked as if he'd been moving as well as he had been while I'd batted with him.
"The ball was finding the middle of the bat and he looked to be really balanced and moving well and unfortunately he just got a decent ball that he edged through to the keeper.
"That's cricket sometimes but he's certainly a guy that leaves no stone unturned and he'll be raring to go again.
"He's working as hard as he ever has done. He's put the work in. In practice he was hitting the ball really well and it's just unfortunate it hasn't transferred into runs, sometimes cricket's not an exact science like that, which can be frustrating, you do everything right but the numbers don't back it up. No doubt he'll come back refreshed and scoring loads of runs."
Stoneman's own performances have been criticised, the left-hander unable to build on first-innings half-centuries in Brisbane and Perth against Australia and enduring the same fate with a pair of second-innings fifties in New Zealand.
Asked for his assessment of an England career in which he averages 30 from 10 Tests, Stoneman added: "Quite frustrating on a personal note as I've had some opportunities to make bigger scores, faced some tough challenges, which at times I've handled quite well.
"It's been a bit of a mixed bag but hopefully if I get things right at the start of the season for Surrey then hopefully I'll be able to build on that against Pakistan [in a two-Test series that starts in May].
"Runs are your currency as a batsman and there's no doubt I haven't scored the volume of runs I'd want to at international level but I know that if I put the work in and get back there then I'll certainly have the motivation to try to do that [prove the critics wrong]."