Cook hungry for taste of 2005 success

ENGLAND&rsquo;S last Ashes triumph came too early for Alastair Cook &ndash; the opening batsman, then 20 years old, was still cutting his teeth with Essex and was yet to make his Test debut.<br /><br />County commitments meant he wasn&rsquo;t even able to join the rest of the country in watching television coverage, as Michael Vaughan&rsquo;s men pulled off that famous victory. But four years on Cook still vividly remembers how cricket fever engulfed the nation.<br /><br />And, on the eve of his first Ashes series on home soil he is desperate to restore the game to centre stage, and ensure people talk fondly of the current side for years to come.<br /><br />&ldquo;I remember the whole country being gripped by it. We&rsquo;ll probably never have a series like that in terms of the games going as close as that,&rdquo; Cook told City A.M. &ldquo;But in terms of the whole country getting behind cricket and cricket being the most talked-about subject, we get the opportunity to do that again. There&rsquo;s no football event on this summer.<br /><br />&ldquo;We&rsquo;ve got a great chance to create another legacy. This is not the 2005 side any more; it&rsquo;s the 2009 side and we want to create our own legacy.&rdquo;<br /><br />By the 2006-07 series Cook had forced his way into the England side, only to be part of a 5-0 whitewash Down Under. The likes of captain Andrew Strauss, Kevin Pietersen, and Andrew Flintoff all bear the same scars. But while Cook insists they have put it behind them, he admits talk of the thrashing is frowned upon in the dressing room.<br /><br />&ldquo;I don&rsquo;t think it plays on our mind that much,&rdquo; Cook added. &ldquo;The people who were there don&rsquo;t want to talk about it too much because of what a tough tour it was. We were playing a great side, perhaps the best side to play Test cricket, but it&rsquo;s certainly a place I wouldn&rsquo;t want to go back to. Those dressing rooms were very tough places to be.&rdquo;<br /><br />Much has changed since then, of course, with two captains and two coaches departing before Strauss and Andy Flower restored a measure of stability earlier this year.<br /><br />Results have improved markedly, meaning England approach the series with optimism, and Cook for one seems relieved a period of flux is over. The next captain in many pundits&rsquo; eyes, he earnestly plays down the notion, preferring to concentrate on more immediate concerns.<br /><br />&ldquo;I&rsquo;ve never thought about it,&rdquo; he laughed. &ldquo;I think you can&rsquo;t dream about stuff like that because you get so carried away you forget all you have to do to get there.&rdquo; <br /><br />Surely, though, he must dream of leading England to Ashes glory one day? &ldquo;I think winning the Ashes would be the pinnacle, regardless.&rdquo; Perhaps by the end of September, Cook will be better placed to judge.<br /><br />Alastair Cook was speaking at the launch of the Standard Chartered Great City Race, a unique 5km team corporate event which sees runners race through the closed off streets of the City of London. Only a handful of places are left for this year&rsquo;s race on Thursday 16 July, so to register your company or for more information visit