x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Captain Cook keen to dish out the antidote to England's title jinx

No major trophy in ODIs for 40 years but England relaxed but raring to go and add missing silverware.

Captain Alastair Cook said yesterday England are under no pressure to win an elusive trophy in the one-day format. Michael Steele / Getty Images
Captain Alastair Cook said yesterday England are under no pressure to win an elusive trophy in the one-day format. Michael Steele / Getty Images

Alastair Cook insists he can see in his England teammates' eyes that they are ready to help him make history at Edgbaston today.

It is 38 years since England began trying, and failing, to win a one-day international global tournament.

At the 17th attempt, and in their fifth final, the Champions Trophy hosts are once again within one victory - against India in Birmingham - of at last claiming a piece of the silverware that has eluded England for so long.

None of that ominous back story is lost on Cook, who has the chance - weather permitting, with rain forecast and no reserve day to salvage anything other than a shared trophy - to break his own duck in his first International Cricket Council campaign.

Cook and his team will switch their minds immediately after todays showpiece back to Test cricket - and specifically, on July 10 at Trent Bridge, the first of 10 Ashes Tests home and away in six months.

Yet asked whether today's assignment is equally deserving of top-rank importance, in his career and to England, he was unequivocal.

"Yes, it is," he said. "We haven't won a global 50-over tournament, as everyone keeps reminding me every time I sit in one of these press conferences. We're desperately keen to try and change that.

"This would be right up there. It would be a great achievement if we can do that, if we can win, and one which we will cherish.

"There's certain moments in your career you remember more than others, and if we can win this tomorrow I think that would be right up there."

Cook is convinced his team are ready to peak, as they must against opponents who have won all their four matches with ease in this tournament.

"The lads are raring to go," he said. "I've never seen them as relaxed as we have been actually leading up to a big game. I'm looking around in the guys' eyes, and I know they're ready."

A return to Birmingham brings with it uplifting memories too, of facing India. It was at this venue two years ago that England routed India by an innings and 242 runs to go to the top of the ICC's Test rankings for the first time.

England may have a tricky decision on their hands today if they have to pick between a fit Graeme Swann and in-form James Tredwell as their frontline spinner.

The captain said: "I think we do, yes, if he [Swann] pulls up well tomorrow. "But he won't be risked if there's a slight doubt."

twitter Follow us @SprtNationalUAE