Alastair Cook believes that England’s exciting tour of the Ashes that commences in just over a month will be an opportunity for them achieve ‘something special.’
England are some people's favourites over the Australians for the Ashes as they have won every series they have played this summer. The Australians on the other hand have lost their last three Test matches, something that has not happened since 1988. This lack of form has also pushed Ricky Ponting’s side to fifth place in the ICC World Test Rankings.
Talking to CricketWorld at an Austin Reed event to launch its Q Club, Cook said: “It is a tough place to play as we experienced last time but it is also an exciting place to go and play cricket. That is what this camp is feeling, we feel we can go and do something special.
“They have had some fantastic results at home, they are a very tough nut to crack at home and that is what is so exciting about the challenge we have got. We know it is going to be tough and the rankings are a nice things but we all know that it does not really count too much when we step across the line.”
Cook does not give much weight to Australia’s 2-0 defeat at the hands of India, as he feels that the Australians are more of a threat at home.
“I do not think you can read too much in to it. Playing in the sub continent and then playing in Australia is completely different.”
England have seen continued improvement since the captaincy was awarded to opener Andrew Strauss. Both Strauss and coach Andy Flower have combined to gain great results from the England camp.
“Ultimately you are playing for your mates and you're playing for the three lions but systems have to be put in place that allow you to play to the best of your ability and to combine the talents that we have got as well as you have got.
“The two Andy’s have done that and hopefully we can continue to improve on that. We are not happy with what we have got and I am sure they are either. We can keep improving ourselves as a team and I am sure as players we hope to keep improving. Our ultimate goal is to be the number one side in the world.”
The Essex and England opening batsman feels that England are going to have to play as a team in order to beat the Australians at home. In the 2005 Ashes series, a series that many call the best series in history, nearly everyone in the England camp peaked at the right time. Cook feels that it will need to be much the same from both the bowlers and batters for the up and coming test in order to retain The Ashes.
“You need to take 20 wickets in the match, If you take 20 wickets in the day but do not score any runs then you are not going to win. In Australia against Australia it is not just one or two people that win you games, it is the whole game team. There is a lot of group collective performance to do it.”
Ricky Ponting recently said: ‘You need to play well for the full five days, not just four.’ Cook shares the Australian captain’s sentiments as although he feels the first session will be crucial, he also maintains that this pressure will continue throughout the whole series.
“I think this series is between two evenly matched sides and two very good sides. I think we all know how crucial the first hour is going to be at Brisbane but as the series develops we are going to be saying that about every hour of every Test match. That is how exciting it is going to be when you put two sides up against each other like this, we know how close it is going to be. I think whoever wins those big hours when they come along will be important.”
Cook, and Andrew Strauss, the England captain, are two of four sport stars signed by Austin Reed to launch the Q Club; a private members club with clubhouse, personal shopping concierge, bespoke tailoring, hirewear and much more.
They will be faces of the Q Club alongside Courtney Lawes and Lewis Moody.
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