Cook vows to be himself

  • Last Updated: October 25 2012, 9:05 BST

Alastair Cook is determined to be his own man as he leads England on his first tour as the official Test captain.

Cook: Preparing for tour of India

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 Kevin Pietersen.

Cook was instrumental in Pietersen's return to the squad following the text-message scandal which saw him dropped from the Test team at the end of the summer.

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.

It seems unlikely that Cook's predecessor Andrew Strauss would have welcomed Pietersen 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 and will miss opening the batting with a man he considers a close friend, this is his ship now.

After standing in for Strauss for one tour of Bangladesh, Cook now holds the captaincy reins on a permanent basis.

"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.

"We have a really tough challenge ahead of us. It is nearly 30 years since we won in India.

"That shows the challenge ahead but I have confidence in this squad that we can go out there and do something special.

"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."

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