Alastair Cook makes England captaincy vow on eve of India series
17:55 14 November 2012
Alastair Cook is determined to be true to himself when he takes on the biggest job of his life tomorrow, that of England Test captain.
Cook’s challenges are manifold as England seek to confound most expectations by winning a series in India for the first time in almost 30 years.
He must lead from the front to try to ensure requisite totals, in a taxing and alien environment.
He must select and deploy his bowlers to take 20 wickets, and of course, there is the Kevin Pietersen conundrum - how will he man-manage England’s most talented batsman on his return after a summer of vexation and estrangement?
Cook has already addressed all these issues publicly, on a tour already three weeks old since England set off for India, via Dubai.
But tomorrow, in the first of four Tests in Ahmedabad, his actions will have to speak louder than all those press-conference pronouncements.
Today he attended one last audition, at which he made it clear he will do it his way as he embarks on his Test tenure, having succeeded Andrew Strauss three months ago.
Cook, who is yet to lead his country on a permanent basis in his new guise, said: “I’m just going to try to do the best job I can, for however long I’m lucky enough to do it.
“You can’t change who you are, the type of bloke you are, and you’ve got to be authentic to who you are.”
He knows, through common sense and personal experience as England’s one-day international captain, that there are adjustments to be made once you find yourself in charge.
“It clearly does change things in the dressing room,” he added.
“When you’re in a position of responsibility you think about things in a slightly different way and have different things on your agenda.
“But I hope I don’t change.
“I feel a mixture of everything. Obviously, I’m a bit excited about what’s going to happen, and a little bit nervous, but the overwhelming emotion is that I am very proud to be leading England.”
Cook is fortunate to have reliable, familiar and expert allies at his side in team director Andy Flower and batting coach Graham Gooch.
The 27-year-old knows both very well from his formative years at Essex, and Flower in particular has rarely been far away as his and Cook’s career paths have neatly intertwined.
The novice Test captain is clearly grateful to have Flower on his side, adding: “One of his best qualities is he’s very, very strong-willed and knows what he wants.”
“The players are conscious that there are no grey areas.”