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We've been playing some good one-day cricket: Alastair Cook

The England captain says he is confident his side can upset India

We've been playing some good one-day cricket: Alastair Cook - Cricket News
England captain Alastair Cook.
What does this final mean for you, captaining in your first major tournament? I know you've been around for a couple of years as a one‑day captain, but nonetheless, somebody said to me the other day the guy is touched with magic dust. Do you feel that?
Not at all. Obviously it's a very exciting day today, isn't it, the day before a big final. You can sense that excitement. It was in the squad, and the guys are just raring to go. I know today is a bit of a damp squid in terms of what we can do outside, but we're ready to play.

We've been playing a lot this summer, and we've been playing some good one‑day cricket the last few games. It's a one off day.  Whichever side plays the best on the day, and I'm fully confident in our guys that we can upset India here tomorrow.

You're playing for history in a way, aren't you, England in 38 years never won a 50‑, 60‑over final? 
Yeah, it's something which is obviously on our radar. The ECB - clearly it is very important for us, and one of our major goals this summer was to try and win the Champions Trophy. Not only will it break that duck of 38 years but also prepare well for the World Cup, as well, if you're looking long‑term. It's a big day tomorrow, and we're going to hopefully gain a lot from it if we can play well. 

All I can say is the lads in the last two games under pressure delivered two excellent performances. I can't say no reason why we can't do it tomorrow. 

Do India deserve to be favorites?
Yeah, they're unbeaten aren’t they, and played some very good cricket. We're happy with that. But our record against India last time we played them in England is a good record. So we can certainly take a lot from that.

Alastair, what's the latest situation with Tim Bresnan? Is he available for tomorrow's game? 
Yeah, Brezzy is obviously ‑‑ he is available for selection, and yeah, it's great news about his little one. 

How important is the toss in the final here, provided that it was really important in the two semi-finals that we've seen in these conditions?
Look, I think it's clearly an advantage. I haven't seen the wicket. The last two days it's been under cover, so I haven't seen it. Yeah, it's one of those things in cricket, isn't it; if you can gain an advantage at the toss is important, but at the end of the day it means nothing.  You get the choice, do what you want to do, but it's how you deliver it and what skills you can bring to that first hour; can you put the opposition under pressure with bat or ball. That's what we'll be looking to do.

Alastair, obviously '79, '92 and then '87 and 2004, four finals basically England have lost. Do you believe that this team really has it in them to actually change the course of history?
Without a doubt. That's why we're here. That's why we've got to the final. We've been playing some good cricket, and it's an opportunity ‑‑ we're desperate not to let go. If it does, it does, and that can happen. It's a one off game, and that's always exciting, isn't it, about a one‑day game in the final. As I said a bit earlier, the lads are raring to go. They're ready. I've never seen them as relaxed as we have been actually leading up to a big game. But I'm looking around in the guys' eyes and I know they're ready; they’re ready to play.

Is Graeme Swann fit?
You know, he's recovering well. He's pushing close. We're going to have a look tomorrow.

Do you have a tricky decision between him and Tredwell? 
Yeah, I think we do, yeah, if he pulls up well tomorrow. But again, as I said a couple days ago, he won't be risked if there's a slight doubt.

There's talk about the top order, India's top order being very strong. Is there any particular plan to stop Shikhar Dhawan?  Have you worked out something? He is in tremendous form.  
Yeah, obviously their top order have played very well. I think both top orders have played well in this tournament, and probably that's one of the reasons that we're in the final. Of course we've got plans, you know? And we've also got very skillful new ball bowlers, as well. It's going to be a good contest out there, a contest in which if we want to win the game, we're going to have to try and get the best of them because we know how dangerous those guys at the top of the order can be.

But on the other foot, if you do take some early wickets and put some pressure on their middle order who haven't batted so much, that could work well for us.

Did Graeme Swann take full part in practice this morning and is the pitch for tomorrow a new one, a fresh one?            
I actually haven't seen the wicket because it was under ‑‑ I didn't see it yesterday. It was under the green cover, which we didn't see.    And it's very much an individual day today, so Swanny did take part in training today, did bowl a few balls, so yeah.  

What have you made of India's bowlers? The batting is sort of slightly a better‑known quantity in terms of the top order, but particularly their new ball bowlers seem to have adapted to conditions over here very well. 
Yeah, I think that's why they've been playing ‑‑ they're probably the favorites and they haven't lost because both the key aspects of the game are working really well. They're scoring runs at the top of the order and taking wickets with the new ball.

Yeah, look, we've played quite a lot of one‑day cricket and Test match cricket against them over the last year and a half or so, so I don't think it's too many unknown quantities from either side, really, not too many hidden secrets. And yeah, it should be a really good game.

And, obviously India didn't win a single game here in 2011 tour. Do you believe that will be weighing on their minds, or in this one off game it really doesn't matter?
I don't think it matters too much. I think we can draw a bit of confidence from it. I know they haven't been beaten yet on this tour, but we have got some good memories of playing against India in England. I don't know – we probably might know at the end of the game whether it has had an impact. 

But it's just a great place to play India here. It's going to be a great crowd. I think both sides will get some great support, and hopefully we can put on a good show.  

Alastair, when we looked at the sporting calendar at the start of this year, we all honed in on the Ashes, but these one‑day finals for England don't come around too often on a global scale, obviously; it's been nine years. I know it's all about tomorrow and the Ashes are further away, but would you put winning tomorrow right up there because of the nature that we could go on and on about not winning these finals until you do, so in the importance of the history of English cricket, is it right up there as far as you're concerned? 
Yeah, it is. We haven't won a global 50‑over tournament, as everyone keeps reminding me every time I sit in one of these press conferences. So there’s the quarter-final, the semi-final and now the final, so yes, I know that pretty well, and we're desperately keen to try and change that so you guys can talk about something else and I can give you different answers to the same question pretty much over and over again.  

Look, it would be right up there. It would be a great achievement if we can do that, if we can win, and one which we will cherish. There's certain moments in your career where you remember more than others, and if we can win this tomorrow then I think that would be right up there. 

Alastair, you were obviously coached by Duncan Fletcher for a couple of years. How significant do you think his influence has been on this Indian improvement, the way they’ve batted, bowled, the vibrance in the field, that kind of thing?  
Yeah, it doesn't surprise me. We obviously know what Duncan did for English cricket, as well, when he came over to England and had a very successful reign with the English cricket team and changed quite a few structures in our game and the way we went about things.  So yes, I can see him obviously working the same with the Indian team, and he made some quite big decisions with the way they've gone.

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