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Cook braced for action once more

Alastair Cook reviewed a successful summer where England beat Australia to retain the Ashes

England captain Alastair Cook is ready get back to business after spending a couple of months reacquainting himself with home life.

Cook, of course, did so with more than a little satisfaction having led England to a 3-0 triumph in his first Ashes series as captain.

Back-to-back contests with Australia will represent a challenge no other Three Lions skipper has taken on, yet the current leading man cannot wait to do battle once more with some familiar faces.

The reverse rubber gets under way at the end of next month and Cook is unsurprisingly raring to go following a few weeks on his farm.

“Obviously the farm plays quite an important part in my life and it’s something I thoroughly enjoy,” he told ecb.co.uk.

“I’ve enjoyed my time off. Clearly it was a long summer; having the Champions Trophy and Ashes was pretty unique so I’ve had a little bit of time off.

“You don’t often get to spend two months at home so that was the beauty of it. I’ve only spent three nights away so it’s been a really good couple of months, just what I needed. It’s been nice to live the home life again and spend some quality time there.

“It’s amazing when you take yourself out of the bubble how quickly that hunger comes back. Everyone is ready to go again and we have the opportunity to do something special.”

Unsurprisingly, Cook’s home time was all the more satisfying as he reflected on a summer of success.

“I look back with a huge amount and satisfaction,” he admitted. “Obviously as a first-time Ashes-winning captain, that takes a while to sink in.

“It’s in the English and Australian psyche that you’re pretty much judged on how you go in the Ashes, as a captain or player.

“To be able to say I am an Ashes-winning captain gives me a huge amount of pride and I look back at a job well done.”

Ever the perfectionist, Cook is already targeting improvement from both himself and his trusty troops.

He added: “Yes, at times, we didn’t play as well as we could have done and I think there is a lot more to come from this side.

“If you look back over the last couple of years, we have probably not scored as many runs as we would have liked to at certain times.

“In Australia, where wickets are flatter at the start and deteriorate, you know how important first-innings runs are.

“We can score a lot more at the top of the order and I think we can bowl a little bit better. We’ve got to be totally disciplined.

“That’s the exciting thing about playing in this England team. Andy Flower does an excellent job of demanding perfection and constant improvement, which are very important.”

Speaking about his own form, having not scored as many runs as he would have liked against Michael Clarke’s men, he added: “I've got in a few times and didn’t turn 30s into big scores, which had been the thing that has taken my game to a new level over the last few years.

“It is frustrating that that didn’t happen this summer but I am sure big runs will come again. It would be nice to do that again.”

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