Alastair Cook warns against England complacency
Thursday 16 February 2012
England are already in an invincible position against Pakistan but will act as though it is all square as they attempt to close out victory in their four-match one-day international series.
As they prepared to travel from Abu Dhabi to Dubai today, the tourists were under orders from captain Alastair Cook to forget their 2-0 cushion and prepare as if they were starting this series all over again.
Cook yesterday made history as the first England captain ever to hit back-to-back one-day international hundreds, and his 102 at the Zayed Stadium helped the tourists to 250 for four and eventually a 20-run win.
The resurgence in their form, following a 3-0 Test whitewash here against Paksitan and a 5-0 ODI hammering in India last October, has been much-needed.
But Cook is far from satisfied yet.
Asked how best to make sure a winning position is converted to continued success in the final two matches, he said: "You train like it's still 0-0.
"Complacency has never been an issue with this England side, whether we win or lose games of cricket."
England had to dig much deeper in their second match to make sure Cook's hundred was not in vain, having trounced Pakistan by 130 runs first time round.
He is wary of Pakistan's firepower, while also heartened by England's two first 50-over performances of 2012.
"It will never be easy, but it's a great situation to be in - 2-0 up with two to go," said Cook.
The opener continues to confound those - experts among them - who claimed he could never transfer his Test match prowess to ODIs.
"When I'd played those first 20-odd games, I knew if I wanted to play one-day cricket for England I'd have to improve," he added.
"I've changed the way I play one-day cricket.
"I knew I had to improve and score quicker."
Pakistan may be relieved, in fact, that in his current form they will not have to face Cook in the three Twenty20 matches scheduled to follow the end of this series.
He still has ambitions to represent his country in the sprint matches, at which England are world number ones and world champions.
"I'd love to be in the Twenty20 side. But it's a totally different format.
"They've already picked the squad and they've had a lot of success."
Cook was delighted not just with his own form yesterday but a thoroughly convincing performance from the whole team - in which fast bowler Steven Finn was again a leading light.
"I think he's just picking up the wickets he was due in India," said the captain.
"He was our outstanding performer in India, and never really got the wickets he deserved.
"He's got two 'four-fors', doing exactly the same thing - bowling very quickly - and that opening spell of five overs for six was quality, running in and bowling 90mph and landing it on a sixpence."
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