India v England: We are still underdogs, warns Alastair Cook
India v England: Alastair Cook says his side are still "underdogs" to win the five-match ODI series despite the hosts' poor form
Alastair Cook believes his England side are still “underdogs” to win the five-match one-day international series despite the hosts’ recent poor form.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s side have lost to England in the pre-Christmas Test series and arch-rivals Pakistan in a three-match ODI series in the last two months – results which have left India’s cricket-adoring public disheartened.
But England’s ODI captain insists come Friday’s opening match, it will be the tourists who will have to perform to the top of their game – not India – to win.
“I think these guys deal with pressure pretty much every day they play so I don’t think that changes in this series,” said the 28-year-old.
“Clearly we are the underdogs but if you look through our side we have got a lot of firepower and a lot of world-class players.
“For us to win the series those world class players and everyone in our squad is going to have to play out of our skin.”
When asked about how his team were dealing with the burden of the last two months, India captain Dhoni, who has lately faced criticism of his own position, agreed that the pressure is no different than before.
“It is not something that is new to us because as Indian cricketers we are supposed to do well,” said Ranchi-born star.
“The moment you don’t do well as a team or as an individual you won’t retain your place but at the same time when you do well you receive a lot of appreciation.”
India will fancy their chances on a flat Rajkot wicket on Friday, with ground staff expecting scores of well over the 300 mark.
However, Dhoni dismissed calls for him to consider stepping down from the captaincy – in at least one format – in the wake of the catastrophic defeat by Pakistan.
“I never question my own ability that is one thing I don’t do,” he added. “Always before you question your own ability others will question it, especially in team sport where everyone needs to believe in themselves and understand the responsibilities they’ve got.
“Giving up the captaincy is not on my mind now because we are right at the start of an important series so I can’t think about that.”