England captain Alastair Cook determined to hit ground running in Dunedin
Last Updated: 05/03/13 9:23pm
Alastair Cook: Ready to lead England into battle in Dunedin
Captain Alastair Cook insists there is no complacency in the England camp ahead of the first Test with New Zealand in Dunedin.
Fresh from their historic series win in India, England are red-hot favourites to beat the unfancied Kiwis in the three-Test series, the first in what promises to be an exciting year for the team.
But Cook said that defeat in their sole warm-up game against a New Zealand XI was a sharp reminder that they cannot take anything for granted.
"Anyone who knows (coach) Andy Flower, and has seen the way he's operated over the years, will know no ounce of complacency will be allowed," Cook said.
"We were a little bit sloppy in that warm-up game, but actually some of the stuff that came out of it was really positive as well.
"For me personally to see, for example, Stuart Broad back bowling quite a lot - he got a bigger workload than we thought, and has pulled through with absolutely no effect to his heel - is great news for us, moving on to the summer as well.
"Yes, we were disappointed to lose that game. But actually it doesn't really matter - the important stuff starts now."
Back-to-back series with New Zealand - who travel to England in late spring - are followed by back-to-back Ashes series. England have a mouth-watering but potentially exhausting 10 months in store - 75 days of Test cricket are scheduled between now and next January.
"It's actually a great challenge for us as a side to see what we can do in these 15 Test matches," Cook said.
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"I don't think any England side has had the opportunity to play two back-to-back Ashes series - and play New Zealand as well - so we have the chance to do something very special.
"But it's only a chance if we perform to the level we can; if we don't, we'll get found out."
And Cook admits that the packed fixture list means England's medical and fitness staff are likely to be amongst the busiest in the camp.
"It would be very naive of me to sit here and say we're going to use the same 11 players for those 15 games - that just doesn't happen," said Cook.
"In an ideal world, you would. But we know how injury, especially for fast bowlers, plays a very important part.
"I think we're very lucky with the strength in depth we have in that pace department, and we can rotate players if we need to or - if someone gets injured - replace them with a guy of very similar ability and class.
"That's a comforting place to be as a squad. This is a really exciting time to be an English cricketer."