ICC Champions Trophy: Alastair Cook confident England can upset India in final
Last Updated: 23/06/13 10:16am
Alastair Cook: Ready to lead England in to battle against India
England captain Alastair Cook is confident his excited squad can pull off an upset and beat India in the final of the ICC Champions Trophy on Sunday.
Victory at Edgbaston would give England a first global 50-over title after 16 failed campaigns to date in this tournament and the World Cup.
Cook is hoping for fifth time lucky, in terms of winning a final, and he has no doubt there is enough talent at his disposal to beat an India team that has been the most impressive in the tournament so far.
"The day before a big final ... you can sense that excitement," he said. "The guys are just raring to go ... we're ready to play. I'm fully confident in our guys that we can upset India here on Sunday.
"It is very important for us - one of our major goals this summer was to try and win the Champions Trophy.
"Not only will it break that duck of 38 years but also prepare well for the World Cup, if you're looking long-term.
"The lads, in the last two games under pressure, delivered two excellent performances. I can see no reason why we can't do it."
"They are unbeaten, and have played some very good cricket, but our record against India last time we played them in England is good. We can certainly take a lot from that."
Cook confirms there is no lack of self-belief about England's capabilities.
"Without a doubt - that's why we're here," said the captain. "That's why we've got to the final.
"We've been playing some good cricket, and it's an opportunity we're desperate not to let go."
To that end, he admits he and coach Ashley Giles may have a tricky decision on their hands if they have to pick between a fit Graeme Swann and in-form James Tredwell as their frontline spinner.
Asked that very question, 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."
Before either of the off-spinners enters the equation, however, England will be pinning their hopes on the new ball - and James Anderson, in particular - to make inroads into a powerhouse India batting line-up which has been so dominant over the past two-and-a-half weeks.
"If you do take some early wickets and put some pressure on their middle order - who haven't batted so much - that could work well for us," said Cook, who concedes nonetheless that India's top three and their improving seam attack make for a potent combination.
"I think that's why they're probably the favourites and they haven't lost, because both the key aspects of their game are working really well.
"They're scoring runs at the top of the order and taking wickets with the new ball."
Cook's mission is to disrupt at least one of those components as his men seek to make history for English cricket.