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Ambitious Cook sets sights high

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Alastair Cook is hoping to lead England on an unprecedented surge to glory that he believes could end with them winning the 2015 World Cup.

The Champions Trophy and back-to-back Ashes series represent the headline acts of a busy year for England, but Cook is also looking long-term.

"We haven't won an ICC 50-over event so that is certainly a priority," he said.

"We've got the tournament here in our home conditions, which we hope to make the most of, and then in two years' time there is the World Cup (in Australia and New Zealand). We haven't won that either.

"They are two big tournaments coming up and we have certainly got the team, if we keep developing, to have a chance of winning them."

The Champions Trophy begins on June 6 and England play in Group A against Australia, New Zealand and Sri Lanka.

Alastair Cook & Charlotte Edwards

England captains Alastair Cook and Charlotte Edwards help out at Harrow Town Cricket Club today as part of NatWest CricketForce

In a hectic summer, they first play a Test series against New Zealand, who they were unable to beat in a reverse rubber last month.

"We knew how tough it would be," said Cook. "New Zealand have got some really good young players who we will hear a lot more about in the future.

"The bottom line is we did not play as well as we could have done and if you do that in any international team you don't deserve to win."

Cook was speaking at the launch of NatWest CricketForce 2013, an ECB-inspired project aimed at rejuvenating cricket clubs and getting facilities up to scratch before the new season begins.

The project involves an army of volunteers and Cook joined former England captain Mike Gatting, England women's captain Charlotte Edwards and London Mayor Boris Johnson to launch the scheme in Harrow.

In an unseasonally biting wind Cook mucked in with the painting of the Harrow Town CC clubhouse while casting his thoughts forward to the summer when England will start as favourites in a home Ashes series against opponents thumped 4-0 in India recently.

Cook said: "We're the first England team to play back-to-back Ashes series so close together, so the potential and the opportunity to do something very special is there.

"I wouldn't read too much into what happened in India with Australia. The conditions were very different to what we are going to experience in England.

"They are going to be a very tough side to beat. They have got some world-class players. The Ashes is a unique event so hopefully it will bring the best out of both sides.

"The favourites stuff is all off the field. You can read all you want about that sort of stuff but it is irrelevant."

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