India v England: It will be surreal without Strauss, admits Cook

India v England: Alastair Cook admits it will be "surreal" opening without Andrew Strauss ahead of his first Test series as captain

Alastair Cook admits it will be “surreal” to open without Andrew Strauss ahead of England’s tour of India which starts with a practice match next week.

The 27-year-old is set to lead England’s Test side out for the first time since replacing his former batting partner as captain in August.

“It will be surreal [not opening with Andrew Strauss] after opening over 70-odd times together,” said Cook.

With much of the focus on Kevin Pietersen’s return to the England set-up ahead of their departure for the sub-continent, Cook is relieved to finally get back to playing cricket.

“I can’t wait to get going now,” added Cook.

“It’s been a couple of months since I was announced as captain and to finally get going and hopefully do what we do best and play cricket rather than talk about it.”

“It’s exciting to start a really big challenge not only for me, but for team, which is to go and play in India which is such a great experience.”

He continued: “Hopefully we can start well. That’s the most important thing. We can talk a lot but the most important thing is to produce the goods on the pitch.

“We’ve got a great blend of youth and experience in the squad. It’s nice as a captain when you see the youngsters coming through who haven’t got that much experience, and then some old hands to lean on for their advice.”

The Essex left-hander feels the ODI captaincy has helped him prepare to succeed Strauss as the Test side’s skipper after he was handed the role in May 2011.

“I’ve been the ODI captain for 18 months and I feel quite comfortable in that role now,” he added.

“The role is obviously expanding now, but I’ve gained experience from doing the ODIs and team-mates are used to my style and to what I expect.

“So it’s probably not a big handover.”

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