We must remain focussed - Cook
Alastair Cook is aware neither he nor his England team-mates can allow themselves to be distracted by future challenges as they prepare for a hectic 2013.
Cook will lead England in back-to-back Ashes series later this year and admits it would be a dream to follow in the footsteps of predecessors Michael Vaughan and Andrew Strauss by lifting the famous little urn.
Speaking at the annual launch of NatWest CricketForce yesterday, the skipper also looked towards the 2015 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
Yet he has made it abundantly clear that success will only come England’s way if they focus fully on each game they play - starting with next month’s home Tests against the Black Caps.
Asked what it would mean to captain his country to Ashes glory, Cook told ecb.co.uk: “Obviously, a huge amount. I’ve seen Straussy and Vaughany do it in recent times and it’s a great day. But let’s not get too ahead of ourselves, we’ve got a huge amount of cricket before that and we’ve got to play some good cricket.
“You have to be at the top of your game to beat anyone in international cricket. Any series win is a great achievement against anyone.”
Another highlight of England’s year will be the Champions Trophy, which they host in June.
Having not previously featured in an ICC tournament, Cook is very much looking forward to the 18-day event.
“You’ve got the top eight sides in there, every game’s a big game and it’s over very quickly. It’s a fantastic tournament to be part of,” he said.
“I haven’t played in an ICC event yet, so I’m looking forward to that and with the home advantage - we’ve done well in one-day cricket at home - hopefully we’ve got a good chance.”
Cook is hoping to have Chris Tremlett at his disposal this summer, with the paceman ready to make a competitive comeback for Surrey following a frustrating lay-off caused by a back injury.
Tremlett was one of England’s leading performers in the last Ashes series Down Under, picking up 17 wickets at 23.
“We saw in Australia, when he was fully fit, what he can bring to any bowling attack,” explained Cook.
“His line and length there were pretty much immaculate throughout those three Test matches he played and he became very hard to score off.”
While cautious over Tremlett’s prospects of another starring Ashes role, Cook would dearly love to have the 31-year-old pressing for a recall to the England fold.
He added: “It's great to see him back fit. He's obviously got to play a lot of cricket again to get up to the rigours of bowling, especially if you're going into any Test match with a three-man seam attack, you've got to be pretty confident that all the guys will get through.
“He's got a lot of work to do and he knows that. But he brings something different which not many other bowlers in the world do at 6ft 7in.
“It increases the competition and the choices. When everyone's fully fit and bowling well we've got a lot of our options covered, especially the seam attack. As a captain that's quite a good place to be.”