AND captain Alastair Cook is determined to ensure his first summer as the skipper of the one-day side ends on a high in Cardiff today.
A rain-affected tie at Lord’s last week saw England clinch the series against world champions India and, coupled with the victory over Sri Lanka a month earlier, Cook can rightly feel confident that under his stewardship the team is moving in the right direction.
But the Essex left-hander, whose own form has been an uplifting aspect of England’s recent progression, wants to ensure his side continue their momentum and send the deflated tourists home having failed to register a victory in any format of the game.
“It’s been a good start, and I’m very happy with the way the lads have taken to me as captain and bought into the ideas,” he said. “I’m very happy with winning both series. We know how tough it’s going to be in the next two months [in a return series in India], but this side has always responded well to challenges.”
The injection of youth in the form of Jade Dernbach, Ben Stokes and the reinstatement of Craig Kieswetter has given the squad a lift and Cook is confident there is more to come from his young team.
He said: “We are a very young side trying to make progress. The exciting thing is I don’t think we’ve played as well as we can.
“We have been put under pressure in this series, but have still won the games. That is very encouraging. We’re going to have to play at the top of our game to try to finish the summer on a high as a one-day team.”
Stokes, meanwhile, will miss today’s match in Cardiff with a finger injury. Uncapped Yorkshire opener Jonny Bairstow and Somerset’s Jos Buttler, who made his Twenty20 debut last month against India, have been called up.