The ICC rankings say England are the world’s top ODI side but for Alastair Cook there is still something not quite authentic about that.
He led his team into the opening rubber of the five-match series against India admitting he believes they must win on the subcontinent to make him accept it. England won 12 of 14 games in the 50-over format in 2012 to reach the pinnacle but Cook is calling for a series win in this most testing of environments to back up their official status.
“I was surprised how quickly we got there,” he said. “We won more than 80 per cent of the games last year so that shows we’re worth it, but at the time I didn t feel like we were the No 1 side because we have so much development left to do. If we won here it would convince me. It would prove that we are No 1 and that we can handle all conditions.”
A major one - day target this year is winning the ICC Champions Trophy in June. For all its status as a poor man s World Cup, the fact england are hosting the event means they are likely to be the favourites.
Cook admitted: “The Champions Trophy is very important, high up my shopping list this year. We have never won an ICC 50- over tournament as an England side, but we ve got the opportunity now, at home in conditions which we’re very comfortable in, to try to win that.”
There are only eight matches in this format five here and three coming up in New Zealand before the Champions Trophy squad is chosen and Cook emphasised that places are available f or anyone who manages to shine.
“I would say a lot of the places are up for grabs. If players perform well here and they ve got the shirt then it s going to be hard to leave out a player who has done really well.”
As the tourists have won just one 50-over match of their last 18 in India, it will not be hard to make progress their last series here in 2011 ended in a 5-0 wipeout.
Cook added: “Although it was 5-0, some games were lost by a small margin and it was a case of one player taking it away from us. I remember MS Dhoni doing it a couple of times. The new rule of having one extra man fielding inside the ring may help as when you ve got wickets in hand it will be very difficult to defend against.”
Dhoni is under more pressure than Cook, with some suggesting that being captain, batsman and wicketkeeper is proving too much for him, but India were at least buoyed by winning an ODI against Pakistan last Sunday, albeit in very cold conditions in Delhi. –Daily Mail