Ashes 2013: Alastair Cook aiming to add to British feelgood factor

The series against Australia starts tomorrow

England captain Alastair Cook would love to keep the feelgood factor around British sport going when the Ashes gets under way at Trent Bridge tomorrow, but has warned it will be no easy feat.

After a bumper weekend that saw Andy Murray become the first Briton to win the men's singles title at Wimbledon in 77 years as well as a first touring success for the British and Irish Lions since 1997, all eyes are now on the nation's cricketers.

Cook admits that the recent triumphs have not gone unnoticed by his side but knows they will be no use once the first ball is bowled in Nottingham.

"In our dressing room there are a lot of big rugby and tennis fans and watching that as a British sports fan is fantastic," he said on the eve of the first Investec Test.

"Huge congratulations to both the Lions and to Andy. It was an incredible moment for British sport when Andy won Wimbledon and when the Lions won after such a long period.

"But it doesn't have too much relevance, unfortunately, to what we're about to do. It's about how we play, not how Andy Murray played in that final.

"We'd love to be able to join them in that success but there's a lot of hard work to do first."

Cook, leading the side for the first time in an Ashes series, acknowledges there is a special feeling before the sport's oldest rivals clash but has cautioned England not to allow the occasion to get the better of them.

"Everyone is just desperately excited to be here after such a big build-up," he said.

"We have finally arrived, pretty much, at game day. There are a few nerves floating around too, so that's probably the two favourite words: nerves and excitement.

"We do have to remind ourselves how lucky we are to be playing the Ashes series at a fantastic venue with great support.

"You have to try and take yourself out of the moment and enjoy it.

"That's why we play sport in the first place.

"We've got to try not to blow it out of all proportions, using huge words like 'massive series'. We've got to keep ourselves true to who we are and remember it's just another game of cricket. This is what we've been doing all our lives and we've handled these situations before."

One player who may not have dealt with such an occasion in the past is Joe Root.

He is just six matches into his Test career and will open the batting alongside Cook for the first time in this match, having been elevated in place of the dropped Nick Compton.

Cook made a similar move himself in his early days in the side and expects Root to meet the challenge head on.

"It's quite similar to what happened with myself really," he said.

"I moved up from number three. (He's being) kind of thrown in there but he's handled himself in every situation fantastically.

"Whether it's a one-day game where he needs to score quickly or see the side home he's managed to change his style.

"I can see no reason why he can't handle himself."

PA

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