England not thinking about Ashes ahead of clash with Australia: Alastair Cook

Alastair Cook says England wants to get off to a winning start © Getty Images

Birmingham: Jun 8, 2013

England captain Alastair Cook says he will not be thinking of the upcoming Ashes series when his team faces old foes Australia in their Champions Trophy opener at Edgbaston on Saturday.

“With the Ashes coming up everyone is going to talk about that,” Cook told reporters at the Birmingham ground on Friday.

“The Champions Trophy is such an important event in itself. You obviously want to start well against any team. We’re going to play against a tough Australian side and we want to win to get off to a good start,” the opening batsman, looking to lead England to a third straight Ashes Test series win, added.

Cook said an initial win was important to improve chances of taking one of the two semi-final berths from Group A, which also includes New Zealand and Sri Lanka.

“You have to start pretty quickly in this tournament,” he said. “You have to definitely win two of the three games. So it’s going to be a tough tournament, but a great one because it’s so quick.”

England go into the eight-nation tournament on the back of an embarrassing 2-1 ODI series defeat at home to New Zealand earlier this month, while Australia were shot out for 65 in a warm-up game against India.

But Cook stressed that those results will mean little when the two teams take the field at Edgbaston.
“You are not going to be remembered for what happened in the warm-up games,” he said. “You’re going to be remembered for what happened in the actual tournament.

“We did not play as well against New Zealand as we could have, but that will count for literally nothing starting tomorrow.”

Australia will be without captain Michael Clarke on Saturday due to a recurring back injury but Cook said his absence did not give England an undue advantage.

“Obviously, when you lose a player of that stature and that quality, it would be a loss to them,” he said. “But they’ve got a good squad and some fine replacements.

“I don’t think it’s all doom and gloom for them, but losing your captain is tough.”

England have never won a major one-day international title, although they were crowned World Twenty20 champions in 2010, and Cook hopes the drought ends in what is the last edition of the Champions Trophy.

“We’ve spoken about trying to win a 50-over tournament and this is an opportunity to do that,” he said.

“Alongside the World Cup in 2015 (in Australia and New Zealand), it’s a very important tournament.”