Nottingham: England skipper Alastair Cook has admitted that it has been long since his side won a Test match and said it would desperately look to change that when the five-match series against India gets underway, here on Wedsnesday.
"We haven`t won a Test in a while and we would love to get back to winning ways," said Cook ahead of their opening Test against India.
"It is a tight schedule. I have never played five Tests in 40 days, in fact haven`t played five Test series against a lot of sides. So I am excited about playing a really big series against India, who are a big side and should pull in a lot of interest. It is important to get ahead in a series like this," he said.
When asked pertinently about what he thinks of the inexperienced Indian team that has come on tour this time around, the English skipper was guarded in his response.
"That`s the beauty of sport, you just don`t know. Not many of their guys have played here before. One way is that they will miss the experience of certain players in certain situations. But then they won`t have too many scars of losing in 2011. So it`s two different ways of looking at that. They are going to be very competitive and we know that," he said.
"I will not read much into the practice games, about how their bowling did in those two tour games. Playing a warm-up game is very different from Test cricket. Certainly Duncan Fletcher treats them differently and I know that he does because he did so when he was with the English team," Cook added.
England haven`t enjoyed a great build-up to this series, having lost to Sri Lanka prior to this, their first ever home series loss to this particular opposition.
Cook`s own poor form, he has gone without a ton for 24 Test innings now ? has been the focus of much attention, with critics arguing that it is affecting his captaincy as well. "I am in the side because I am among the top six batsmen in the country and my job is to go out there and score runs for my country. It doesn`t matter whether I am captain of the side or not and I am not thinking about captaincy when I am facing any bowler," insisted Cook.
"It is possible to separate the two aspects and captaincy has never affected my batting. The skill is to switch between the two and be mentally fresh to be able to do it. When you are captain your mind works overtime, but I don`t see that as a problem," explained Cook.
"I just need to get back to scoring runs. I have had a good last 10 days, resting and switching off everything. I have been hitting many balls, as many as I can and in this summer, I haven`t really felt that I am not hitting the ball well," he added.
Asked if a series loss to India will mean the end of his captaincy, Cook replied, "It has been an honour to do the job and the selectors are the ones to pick the captain. It is not my job to do that. I do the job they give me and I have given it my all and I will continue to give it my all until I have this job to do."
While the run-making responsibility will lie largely with Cook, there will be onus on James Anderson and Stuart Broad to share the wicket-taking charge, as England get used to life after Graeme Swann. "We bowled well against Sri Lanka but we had two bad days in Headingley and lost the series. We have a different balance in attack from what we are used to and without Swann we have different options to mix it up. We now have a different way of getting 20 wickets," said the skipper.
"You change things around when you have to and Swann could hold one end up. Bowlers like Anderson and Broad have had Swann bowling at other end so they will also need to get used to bowling without him. They both have an outstanding record at this ground and their workload will be high."
England have had a small injury scare regarding Matt Prior and Jos Buttler has been called as a back-up. But the former is expected to make the playing XI with a final call to be taken tomorrow morning.