Sydney: England captain Alastair Cook has said that England has boosted its confidence for the Ashes with their home turf 2-0 pounding of New Zealand. Cook`s charges beat the Kiwis by 247 runs at Headingley on Tuesday in what British press trumpeted as an ominous warning to Australia.
Content with the form-line ahead of their home Ashes series, Cook said that although winning the Test series against the Kiwis would not mean much when they meet Australia for the Ashes, but they will definitely be confident enough to challenge their arch rivals on their home soil.
Stating that a lot of things can change as there is a long time until the Ashes, the England skipper said that before that they would have to face important one-day cricket in the form of the ICC Champions Trophy, adding that they will know whether the games will make any momentum on the Ashes. Expecting trump card Kevin Pietersen to return from a knee injury for the Ashes forcing a batting change, Cook said that although there will be a tough decision to be made if he returns, he suggested that it could be too risky to promote Joe Root to open alongside him against the Australian fast bowlers.
According to Cook, the opener position is a crucial spot in an equally important series, adding that it is a risk to be in that position as the player comes in the firing line straight away and needs to set a good tone at the top of the order. Root, batting at number five, was Man of the Series against New Zealand and scored his maiden Test hundred in the Headingley win, and his form contrasts with incumbent opener Nick Compton, whose last six Test innings have yielded just 54 runs.
Meanwhile, defeated Kiwi captain Brendan McCullum has backed England to beat Australia in the much-anticipated series starting in July, saying that they are ``red-hot favourites``, with their ability to swing the ball to decide the Ashes.