Oct 25 2012
Alastair Cook is determined to be his own man as he leads England on his first tour as the official Test captain in India.
Kevin Pietersen is set to rejoin the squad and it seems unlikely that Cook's predecessor Andrew Strauss would have welcomed him back so easily, given the fall-out which occurred at the end of last summer. But while Cook learned a great deal from Strauss' leadership, this is his ship now.
"I just need to be true to myself - I can't pretend to be Andrew Strauss. He was a great leader and he did some fantastic things for the side but it is a different side now," Cook said.
Pietersen has apologised for his part in the saga and Cook welcomed his return to the England squad as "the best possible outcome" to a sorry episode.
"I am just delighted we have got a world-class player back. As a captain I wanted our best players available because that is how we get our best results," Cook said.
England were due to fly to Dubai on Thursday morning for a three-day training camp before heading to India for a challenging four-Test series. At some point over the next week, depending on his Twenty20 Champions League commitments with the Delhi Daredevils, England will be joined by Pietersen.
"We have a really tough challenge ahead of us. It is nearly 30 years since we won in India," Cook added.
"It has been a tough couple of months for Kevin but he seems very contrite and he is desperate to be back doing what he does best, which is scoring runs for England."
India A have selected a squad for the first warm-up match that does not include any spinners - one area in which England struggled badly against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates last winter.
"What happened in the UAE against Pakistan highlighted where we were and we struggled. We know how key playing spin will be in India," Cook said. "We know what we have to do as a side from our experience over the last six or seven months. We don't have any control over who they pick and we will just have to adapt as best we can."