Image courtesy of: Zimbio
England captain Alastair Cook has announced that leading his side to victory over Australia in the upcoming Ashes series would be the greatest achievement of his career.
Cook guided England to a 3-0 victory over Australia during the Ashes series in 2013, but was was left embarrassed and humiliated after the 2013-14 Ashes series as his side were whitewashed 5-0.
Cook, who became England’s leading Test run-scorer during the tour of the West Indies in April to May, added that the national team are feeling extremely confident as Australia have not won an Ashes series in England since 2001.
“It was an incredibly tough time,” said Cook. “Losing that Test series against Sri Lanka and that fourth day at Headingley is as tough as it can get, so from where we have been if we did win the Ashes at The Oval that would be remarkable, and something I would be very proud of – it would be my best achievement.
“We have a good chance of winning. It is going to be a highly competitive series and we will go in as underdogs because they are the best side in the world.
“But in our home conditions and with what has happened over last five or six weeks and the support we are getting, we have a really good chance.”
Cook also got the opportunity to sit down and chat with new head coach Trevor Bayliss on Friday, which was the night before the national team travelled to Spain for a four-day pre-Ashes training camp.
However, he admitted that getting to know Bayliss on a personal level just over a week before the start of the Ashes is not “ideal”.
“We can’t pretend it’s ideal meeting the coach for the first time a week before the Ashes,” he said. “It’s the first time I’ve had a coach I do not know at all. Obviously, with Peter Moores, Andrew Flower and Ashley Giles, I knew them, so I think it’s really exciting to have a guy totally from the outside and with a totally different set of eyes looking at us.
“The relationship with the coach is massive and I’ll spend a lot of time with him, and I think the guys will spend a lot of time with him, too.
“The guys have played a lot of cricket, and done a lot of training. It’s been pretty much non-stop since the start of the West Indies tour. Now it is about meeting Trevor and talking about what will happen over the next seven weeks.”
Cook pointed out that all his team-mates, especially the senior players, are determined to regain the Ashes and avenge their dismal performance during the 2013-14 series.
“The senior guys who have been round the block can have that temptation to sit back a little, but just chatting to the guys over the last two or three weeks, they are as hungry as ever,” Cook said. “I saw Jimmy Anderson last night, and as soon as we started talking about cricket he told me what he wanted to do to certain players. This is a guy who has taken 400 wickets so that excited me.”