Cook looks ahead to Champions Trophy
Skipper Alastair Cook is relishing the prospect of leading England in a global event for the first time when the Champions Trophy kicks off on these shores next summer.
The competition - which was launched today - will be played over 18 days with the matches scheduled for the Cardiff Wales Stadium, The Oval and Edgbaston, which will host the final on June 23.
For Cook and England, it represents a real chance to claim a second ICC crown following the success in the World Twenty20 two years ago.
The hosts will certainly go into the tournament as one of - if not the - favourites having risen to the top of the world rankings under Cook’s stewardship.
The captain said: “It‘s a very important event for us as a side. We don’t often get the opportunity to play at home in a world tournament. I think we’ve have only won one ICC tournament and we would love to win another one.
“It’s a great opportunity for us as a side. We’ve got a really good home record. Clearly conditions suit our style of play so we’ve got an opportunity as a side to do something very special.
He added: “We have a great winter in India and New Zealand, the ICC Champions Trophy and then Australia (for the Ashes).
“It is really exciting as a player. We have a lot of big games coming up and if we play well we can do something special.
“We have an amazing opportunity over the next couple of years if we play good cricket. All that cricket in such a short space of time, we can do something special if we play well.”
Despite leading England to the summit in the 50-over format, Cook is refusing to rest on his laurels.
“We don't feel like we are the number one. We have a huge amount of potential and work to do,” he said. “Our consistency has to improve to maintain our challenge in every game.
"What’s important for me is we keep trying to improve and don’t feel like we have achieved anything yet.”
With this being the last edition of the Champions Trophy, ICC chief executive Dave Richardson said: “It’s got quite a reputation to live up to because the last one we had in South Africa in this format with the top eight teams really went down well. So I think everyone’s looking forward to it. It should be a very good spectacle.”
Tournament director Steve Elworthy added: “This tournament excites me, the potential it has. It’s a bit of a hidden gem really.”