‘A dream to beat India, in India'

“I am not going to get into this kind of debate as to who are the favourites ahead of the series. It is a totally different challenge for all of us,” says Cook, looking ahead to the five-match ODI series against India. V. V. Subrahmanyam listens in.

Alastair Cook is in the mood to script a new chapter for England when they take on India in the five-match one-day series (starting on October 14 in Hyderabad). “It is a dream to beat India in India in a one-day series. And it is a huge challenge to take them on even though players such as Sachin (Tendulkar) and (Virender) Sehwag will not be playing for them. They are still very dangerous in home conditions,” says the 26-year-old England skipper.

“Some of the members of the current Indian team might lack international experience but they are very familiar and experienced in these conditions. So, it is a totally different challenge where wickets have been historically spinner-friendly,” says Cook about the forthcoming one-day series.

“Yes, it is a fact that in batting India will miss the big names like Sachin and Sehwag, and in bowling Zaheer and Harbhajan. But the others should be capable of producing results for them,” he says talking of the depleted Indian side.

“It is part of a long-term strategy to rest James Anderson. In his absence, Tim Bresnan will spearhead the England attack. It is a huge opportunity for the youngsters to play in this series which should be really exciting, especially when they play in front of huge crowds,” says Cook.

The England captain maintains that he can be successful on Indian tracks even if the Indians decide to cordon off his favourite scoring area, which is square of the wicket on either side. “I don't want to read too much into what is being said in this regard. Having played in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka earlier successfully, I am confident that I have the ability to score freely on the sub-continent wickets,” the opener points out.

“By all means, I am not going to get into this kind of debate as to who are the favourites ahead of the series. It is a totally different challenge for all of us,” says Cook, who has played in 32 ODIs, scoring 1325 runs (highest score: 119; average: 38.97; strike rate: 78.44).

He adds: “Yes, if we look at most of the wickets prepared for the Champions League T20 they seem to be slow pitches and we know what to expect.

“The entire team is keen on putting up a good performance against the World Cup champions on their home soil. It is a kind of challenge that will spur my boys to produce something really special.”

Talking of the Decision Review System (DRS), Cook says, “Well, I can't comment on what the BCCI's stand is on DRS. But we have been using it for quite some time and do believe that when the technology is available we should use it.”