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Series will be a massive challenge: Cook

cricket Updated: Oct 13, 2011 20:30 IST

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England captain Alastair Cook feels his team will have a tough challenge on hand when it takes on India in their five-match One-Day International series, beginning here Friday.

"The challenge is massive ahead of us. Historically, India have been strong at home. But we are confident that we can produce a challenge. The last 10 days of practice has been fantastic. Two good workouts and warm-up games and we are ready to go," Cook told reporters ahead of the first ODI at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad.

"It is a different series under different conditions. What is gone is gone," he said when asked if the team would have an upper hand following its 3-0 win against the same side back home last month.

Cook does not agree that Indian team is weak despite losing its key players to injuries.

"India are a strong side, especially in home conditions. They have a huge depth of talent to use from."

Cook feels that despite being ranked as the number one Test team, England have a long way to go in the one-day format. "We have not played very well in the last two years or so (in ODIs). There are other sides better than us. This is an area where we need to improve," he said.

On the playing eleven for Friday's match, the English captain said they would pick players who are best suited for the conditions.

Admitting that picking the team from 15 talented players is a "headache", he said he was delighted to have such a problem. "Selecting the team from 15 is a tough call for a captain and coach," he said.

On the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS), Cook said they are in favour of it because it can help get decisions right. "However, if the other side does not want it, we can't help," he said.

Earlier in the week, the International Cricket Council (ICC) reverted back to its earlier stance of using DRS in a bilateral series with the consent of the two boards.

On England off-spinner Graeme Swann's criticism of Kevin Pietersen being not the right man to lead the team. Cook said that his team remained united.

"There has been an issue about it. We are a strong team and has always been united on an issue," he remarked on Swann's observation on Pietersen in his autobiography.