London, June 8: England captain Alastair Cook knows the Champions Trophy 2013 will be a "tough" tournament but says he and his team are prepared for the challengers and will try to win the global 50-over event for the first time.
England have never won a 50-over world tournament. Their only ICC trophy is World Twenty20 which they won in the Caribbean in 2010.
Ahead of England's first match against Australia on Saturday (June 7), Cook spoke on the opening game and about the tournament which is being held at home.
Excerpts from media conference
Question: Obviously this is a great opportunity for England to win one of these events for the first time. I think it's also your first local tournament, isn't it? How big a deal does it feel to you?
Alastair Cook: Yeah, it is my first one. I'm really looking forward to the challenges of being in a world tournament. You get into a series, and you get to play against the same team three or five times. So this is very different in terms of having to play against a different team every day or every game you play and having to adjust your skills to the certain players straightaway. And you have to start pretty quickly in this tournament otherwise, you have three games to get to the group, you have to win definitely two of them. So it's going to be a tough tournament that way, but I think it's a great tournament because it's so quick.
Q: Whether you like it or not, Alastair, it is the first of, I think, 26 internationals against Australia which you play between now and the beginning of February. Does it seem the beginning of something separating from the tournament?
Cook: To be honest with you, I don't think it does because the Champions Trophy is such an important event in itself, so, yeah, clearly playing Australia in the first game with the Ashes coming up everyone's going to talk about that, but I think both sides will be seeing it as needing to win to get the tournament off to a good start rather than anything else, which is later in the summer.
Q: How big a loss is Michael Clarke not playing to them?
Cook: Yeah, obviously, when you lose a player of that stature and that quality, obviously, it would be a loss to them. But they've obviously got a good squad and obviously some fine replacements, so I don't think it's not all doom and gloom for them, but losing your captain is tough.
Q: They were bowled out for 65 the other day. They've not had the greatest of build-ups. You came good in the end against New Zealand. How do you see the balance of power going into the game?
Cook: It's irrelevant, those warm-up games. You want to find form as a team, but if you don't find form, you're not going to be remembered for what happened in the warm-up games. You're going to be remembered for what happened in the actual tournament. Just like what happened against New Zealand. We didn't play so well as we could have done in that series, but that will count for literally nothing.
Q: I think this is probably going to be the last ever Champions Trophy. A while back it was one of England's goals to win a major global tournament, which you did with the World Twenty20. If this tournament ends and is never played and England have never won it, would that be kind of a mission on the national TV?
Cook: We've spoken about trying to win a 50-over tournament. So this is an opportunity to do that. Alongside the World Cup in 2015, it's a very important tournament. Whether this happens again, this tournament, we'll have to wait to see somewhere down the line, but we're not quite so bothered about that. We have two weeks' cricket here, and it's a one-day fight. We know what we can do. It's about us delivering it in these two weeks.
Q: How do you think the captaincy is coming along? It's still early days, relatively, with the new restrictions in place. Now I mean, you did that where you move yourself into the captain's hat Do you feel you're growing into the captaincy?
Cook: I've been doing one-day stuff for two years now. So I feel quite comfortable in that role. Clearly, the Test captaincy is a lot shorter. But I feel quite comfortable, and I think the lads are quite comfortable with me.