England v India, Champions Trophy, final, Edgbaston June 22, 2013

England ready to create history - Cook


Alastair Cook believes his England side are ready to create history and shed their unwanted record as they prepare to meet India in the final of the Champions Trophy.

England are the only side involved in the tournament never to have won a global ODI competition. They have reached the finals of three World Cups (1979, 1987 and 1992) and one previous Champions Trophy (2004) but have always finished runners-up.

While Cook accepted that India deserve to go into Sunday's final as favourites, he expressed confidence in his team's ability to prevail and admitted victory would rank as highly as any achievement in his England career to date.

"I'm fully confident in our guys that we can upset India here," Cook said. "India are unbeaten and have played some very good cricket. But I'm fully confident in our guys. The lads have delivered two excellent performances under pressure in the last two games and I can see no reason why we can't do it tomorrow.

"We've been playing some good cricket and it's an opportunity we're desperate not to let go. The lads are ready. I've never seen them as relaxed as we have been leading up to a big game. But I'm looking around in the guys' eyes and I know they're ready to play.

"We haven't won a global 50 over tournament, as everyone keeps reminding me. So we're desperately keen to try and change that. It would be a great achievement if we can win and one which we will cherish. There's certain moments in your career where you remember more than others, and if we can win this then I think that would be right up there."

It will be of little consolation if they fall at the final hurdle, but England can take some satisfaction from their progress to the final.

After years of modest ODI form, England have developed a side that has shown they can challenge in global tournaments. While they were well-beaten by Sri Lanka, they have subsequently won what amounted to two knock-out games in succession and can look ahead to the 2015 World Cup knowing that the vast majority of this squad should still be available.

England have also progressed without two of their best players. Kevin Pietersen has missed the whole event, while Graeme Swann has played just once.

It appears Swann may well not play in the final, either. Not only did Cook reiterate the view that Swann will not be risked if there is even "a slight doubt" over his fitness, but James Tredwell's fine form has alleviated any need to rush Swann back. Indeed, there are many who feel that Tredwell deserves his place on merit, whether or not Swann is available. Swann bowled "a few balls" in the nets on Saturday and was described as "recovering well" by Cook.

Tim Bresnan is also available having missed the semi-final to witness the birth of his first child. Bresnan was replaced for that game by Steven Finn, who took the vital wicket of Hashim Amla, but England have huge respect for Bresnan's skills with bat and ball and he could well return.

A new pitch has been allocated for the final but, in common with most modern pitches at Edgbaston, it is still likely to aid spin and, perhaps, reverse swing. Having been under the covers for much of the last couple of days, it may also prove helpful to the seamers for the first hour. As of Saturday afternoon, the groundstaff at Edgbaston were very happy with the state of the outfield and reported no drainage problems. But the weather forecast is not promising.

A shared title - the scenario if no result is possible on Sunday - would be an unsatisfactory conclusion to a successful tournament. While it would, in theory, end England's winless run in global ODI events, would do so in hollow fashion. The ICC insist there is no precedent for having reserve days in the Champions Trophy - there actually was a reserve day in 2002 - but it does seem a shame an extra day could not be found for the final, at least. While England and New Zealand begin a largely meaningless two-match T20I series on Tuesday, the make-up of the sides is vastly different.

There are those who suggest that, so often does the weather intervene in England and Wales, that they are not suitable venues for such competitions. It is an understandable reaction, but perhaps the positives of England and Wales hosting events - full houses for games between neutral countries and enthusiastic multicultural crowds - should not be dismissed. It does rain in other countries, too. The 2007 World Cup final, in the Caribbean, was interrupted by rain, while the 2002 Champions Trophy in Sri Lanka was shared between India and Sri Lanka after poor weather interrupted play on two successive days.

Cook suggested that England could take confidence from their recent home record against India, but such analysis could equally work the other way. While it is true that India failed to win a single game on their 2011 tour, England have won only five of the last 20 ODIs between the sides going back to the start of 2008. What is more, India would appear to have the batting firepower to adapt should the game be reduced in overs. For India to come to England - where their record is modest - and win such a tournament with a newly restructured team would represent a fine achievement.

In some ways, this match represents a clash of ODI cultures. While the India side is packed with explosive batting talent, England possess several technically correct, patient players who will build innings in quite a different way. Their critics say it is an outdated method but, should they win, they will have strong evidence to vindicate their strategy.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • j on June 23, 2013, 13:25 GMT

    England the real victors here: Rain and cloud cover as well as the previous history between the Indian batting facing the best swing attack in the world. No question what the outcome would have been, Anderson would have picked up a five-fer here today. There are so many positives for England at the moment. Top of them all is Cook, who has been by far the best captain of the series, what amazing momentum this is for him and all the test side going into the Ashes.

  • Dummy4 on June 23, 2013, 8:46 GMT

    @Sachin Kumar Mund on (June 23, 2013, 6:34 GMT)

    Dear Sachin, (1) The pitch was under cover for 2 days absorbing the moisture. (2) Overcast conditions. (3) Ball swinging in the air and off the pitch.(4) Forecast of the sun making its appearance later. (5) Anderson, Finn, & Broad, one of the best pace pack in business, in form.

    And do you really want India to bat first, in such conditions? Or give a chance to Bhuvanesh, Umesh & Ishant? And keep the chase-able target under check!

  • rakesh on June 23, 2013, 8:09 GMT

    there is no problem to face the britsh for india because dhoni is the captain of india

  • Dummy4 on June 23, 2013, 6:34 GMT

    If India Wins the Toss They Should Bat First and Post in between 250-300. and If D/L Method comes in Play Then It will be difficult for England to chase the Revised Target... As England Playing With Batsman of Test Specialist Can Make England Wouble in Chasing Big Target And Its The Final and in English COndition... The Pressure is on England Rather Than India As England Played Some Moderate Cricket to reach Final as India Hammered SAF,WIN,PAK,SRL comfortably and is Firm Fav to Smashed England In The Final...... England Bowling is Depend on Jimmy Andersen ... India Just need to see off his 10 overs and get on with the game in next 40 overs and see where it goes if rain and D/L mehod comes active.... India Batting is much much Strong than England Bowling. All The Batsman In Form...

  • spirit on June 23, 2013, 6:10 GMT

    @gm47..'''we all know what happened in India last time'''....yes we know what happened last time in india,yes u lost the ODI series by 3-2..since its an ODI event talk about ODI's not tests..it seems u come to any ODI tournament with tests on your mind,no wonder why your team is so unsuccessful in shorter format majority of the time

  • Parashu on June 23, 2013, 6:08 GMT

    34 years ago this date ENG played their first ever final (of WC/CT) against WI. It's their 4th such appearance- with 1992 WC and 2004 CT finals in between.Whole cricketing world knows who has has lost all finals they have played. So provided rain can stay away during play-hours it should be no-brainer as to how and why ENG need to "re-create" history!!

    Filled with test specialists in Cook, Bell and Trott up-front; and with T20 experts in Morgan, Buttler and Bopara in the middle, how can just a hype created around bowling of Anderson be enough to win a big final opposite fearless squad of Indian young guns? I have watched all ENG matches in this tournament; and all the previous three big finals they played in the past; and can bet this ENG side doesn't have even half the skills/resources that Brearly's 1979; or Graham Gooch's 1992; or Michael Vaughan's 2004 sides possessed. I don't understand why local press gets so euphoric when ENG or SA play a SF or Final?

  • Dummy4 on June 23, 2013, 6:07 GMT

    Most of us, among the Indian fans, had been relatively quite, before today's final. Understandable. Before any unwanted over exuberance takes over, I thought of posting the following "cautionary" comment.

    India has been playing very well in this tournament, and we Indian fans can be proud of the way our young players adapted to the conditions so fast and so well. However there was some gloating over the pyrrhic victory over Sri Lanka, ignoring many fortuitous events.(1) A juicy pitch early in the game for more than an hour; (2) Dhoni winning the toss; (3) Dilshan's injury; (4) Too many edges by our batsmen luckily going to the boundaries (On another day some of the outside edges would have gone to the fielders' grasp and some of the inside edges would have hit the stumps); (5) Many dropped catches; (6) Below par fielding by Sri Lanka (usually their fielding is better); and (8) Nervous and stiff captaincy by Angelo, who is still learning the ropes.

    India played better cricket, though

  • gerry on June 23, 2013, 5:53 GMT

    @Vindaliew what has something that happened 34 years ago got to do with anything ???

    to ALL India fans, if England win today what excuses will we get.... Blame winning/losing the toss, the weather,the ball, the wicket.............. England were lucky or India were unlucky. Seems to be some sort of inferior complex there. I hope England win today but if they don't, not really bothered either.... still prefer to win tests... and we all know what happened in India last time :)

  • Android on June 23, 2013, 5:44 GMT

    yes ofcourse by loosing champions trophy

  • Dummy4 on June 23, 2013, 4:06 GMT

    @Muhammad Farhan...In ur Dreams Mate..England will be dispatched to all parts of the ground..Mark my Words..

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