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Cook ready for fresh test

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This feature was originally published in full as The Big Interview in the official programme for the first npower Test against Sri Lanka in Cardiff - click here to buy England match programmes online

Alastair Cook

Alastair Cook is proud of his accomplishments in the Ashes over the winter but is now focused on the summer series against Sri Lanka and India

Alastair Cook has acknowledged that he must forget about his heroics in the Ashes if he is to shine against Sri Lanka and India this summer.

The left-hander was named man of the series during England’s 3-1 win Down Under, scoring 766 runs at an average of 127.66.

He scored an unbeaten Test-best 235 in the opening game at Brisbane to set the tone for England’s dominance and followed that up with 148 at Adelaide and 189 at Sydney.

The opener’s feats are perhaps more impressive given that his place was perceived to be under threat due to a lack of form before the Australia tour.

However, he is not prepared to rest on his laurels during the npower Test series with Sri Lanka, which started at Cardiff yesterday.

He told ecb.co.uk: “I can take a lot of confidence from what I did, but every time you walk out to bat in a Test match or in any game, you start on 0. I’ve got hugely fond memories of that tour, but they are only that now.

“I’m still going to have to fight to get in. I’ve been hitting the ball well. Hopefully I can carry that form into the series.

“Your job as an opening batter, or any batter, is to score runs. When you’re not, you’re under threat. There are only so many chances and there’s a huge amount of competition in the county game from people desperate to take your place.

“I got backed by the selectors, but you know you have to deliver and repay that faith.”

Sri Lanka won their opening two tour matches against Middlesex and England Lions but must cope without the experienced bowling trio of Muttiah Muralitharan, Lasith Malinga and Chaminda Vaas.

Cook, though, is wary of underestimating Tillakaratne Dilshan's side, citing their passage to the World Cup final as proof that they are more than capable of giving England a tough series.

He said: “They’re a very dangerous side. You don’t get to the World Cup Final without having exceptionally good players. They’ve always been very competitive and I expect no different.

Alastair Cook

Cook, pictured, is relishing the chance to lead England in the one-day format after taking over from Andrew Strauss earlier this month

“Yes, they’re missing Muralitharan, Malinga and Vaas from last time, but that will give other people a chance to step up. We won’t be taking them lightly.

“From playing out there for England in ‘A’ tours, I know there’s a lot of talent around. It’s our job to try to suppress that natural flair and put them under pressure. Whatever they try to do to us, we have to make sure we do it to them.”

Cook will lead England in the NatWest One Day International Series against Sri Lanka and India after Andrew Strauss retired from the role following the World Cup.

The 26-year-old was the stand-in captain during England’s tour of Bangladesh last year and is eagerly anticipating skippering the side in a permanent capacity, starting on June 28 against Sri Lanka at the Kia Oval.

He said: “To be asked to lead your country is a huge privilege, which I’m very much looking forward to. It’s going to be a tough one, but I’m looking forward to giving it my utmost. Since Straussy took over in 2009, I think we’ve made big strides as a one-day side.

“We have a huge amount of talent in this country, as has been shown by our strength in depth in all forms; batting, bowling, keeping cover.

“It is there. Under Andy Flower, I’m going to work as hard as I can to try to build on what Straussy did and hopefully produce a successful side. It doesn’t get any tougher than Sri Lanka and India to start, but I’m looking forward to the challenge.”

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