Cook aware of India home threat
Alastair Cook has warned his England team they will have to play their best cricket over the next month if they are to see off India again, despite beating Mahendra Singh Dhoni's side in all formats this summer.
England touched down in India this morning ahead of a four-week tour that contains two warm-up matches, five one-day internationals and one Twenty20 international.
Their hosts are smarting from a dreadful summer tour of England which saw them lose their status as number one Test side with a 4-0 whitewash before going on to suffer further humiliation in the one-off T20 and a 3-0 ODI loss.
To make matters worse for India, they are without the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Zaheer Khan and Yuvraj Singh due to injuries they suffered in England, while experienced spinner Harbhajan Singh has been dropped.
All those factors mean England are well placed to win their first one-day series in India for 26 years, but Cook insists his young squad, which contains uncapped Surrey seamer Stuart Meaker, will not be taking the opposition lightly.
"I certainly think we can beat India but it will be incredibly tough. We need everyone to be playing very well," Cook said.
"Playing the world champions in their own back yard, it doesn't get much tougher than that.
"We have a record which is not great playing India in one-day cricket. History suggests how tough it's going to be but we won't be complacent; the lads are desperately keen.
"Half of them haven't been on an England tour before so there's no way they will be complacent.
"India might not have the big names, but they are very talented and this summer they put us under some pressure in our own conditions, so we know, as they are more suited to their own conditions, how hard it will be."
In addition to dealing with slower pitches than at home, England must also come to terms with playing in front of partisan crowds, starting with the first ODI in Hyderabad on Friday week.
"We all know what the one-day crowds are like over there. They love their cricket,” Cook added.
“Delivering our skills when 50,000 or 60,000 people are screaming and when balls are flying all over the place will also be a key factor, but certainly with this squad I think we can do something really special."
Since the squad was unveiled Meaker has attracted much attention for his extreme pace - he is the fastest bowler on record at the National Cricket Performance Centre in Loughborough at almost 93mph.
The player himself told ecb.co.uk this week that he can bowl even quicker, and Cook is relishing the chance to witness the 22-year-old in full flight.
“I haven’t seen too much of him but the reports say he bowls very quickly and he is skiddy," Cook said.
"He has got a great opportunity in the next few weeks to show what he can do. He bowls quickly and he has got the potential to swing the ball.
“I have seen him swing the red ball quickly and hopefully that can translate to a bit of reverse swing as well, which is obviously quite a key factor in one-day cricket in India.”