Cook aims to get on front foot

Published: Tuesday 7th July 2015 by The News Editor

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Alastair Cook believes the players he has at his disposal could inspire him to become a better England captain ahead of the imminent Investec Ashes series.

Cook’s leadership of the side has been under almost non-stop scrutiny since he took the job in August 2012, but he cut a relaxed figure ahead of the first Test with Australia in Cardiff, which gets under way on Wednesday.

With the attack-minded Joe Root, Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler all emerging as regular Test stars, Cook is conscious he may have to adopt a similar mindset in order to get the best out of his young guns.

“There is a lot written about my captaincy and it is important I sometimes get on the front foot,” said Cook.

“If you look back at previous teams, they were more methodical. Maybe there’s more opportunity to be on the front foot with the players we’ve got now.

“As a leader of a group you have to change probably your style of leadership to the players you’ve got in the changing room and what gets the best out of them.”

Cook admitted tensions are high but added that his side are champing at the bit to get the high pressure series under way.

“I think as always a day before there’s a bit of nerves flying around,” he said. “The overriding thing you saw at training today was that the lads, after all the build-up, can’t wait to get going tomorrow and play some cricket.

“It’s a huge challenge for us to play against (one of) the best sides in the world but in our home conditions as players you want to test yourself against the best. That’s what you want to do and see how good you are.”

The build-up to the series has been dominated by the topic of sledging and Cook agreed with opposite number Michael Clarke, who conducted his pre-match conference prior to the left-hander, that any vocal confrontations should not overstep the mark.

“I think people want to see really competitive cricket, both sides giving their all for their country,” he said.

“The honour of playing for your country, it shows how much it means to you, but I do believe there is that line which is in the sand somewhere and everyone knows you can’t cross and I hope we can play to that.”

Australia will enter the series with plenty of confidence having whitewashed England the last time the two sides met Down Under in 2013/14.

Yet Cook is not interested in bringing up the past, adding: “The most important thing (to remember) is that’s gone. You cannot keep harping on about that.

“You’ve got to be very careful as players not to read too much into all that kind of stuff.

“It’s all a brand new challenge, a fresh start – both teams have got new faces in.

“Cricket’s not played on paper, it’s not played on what happened two years ago – it’s about what happens tomorrow and for the next 25 days from there.”

Published: Tuesday 7th July 2015 by The News Editor

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