Cook to prove critics wrong
Brisbane - England opening batsman Alastair Cook said on Tuesday he wants to prove his critics wrong in the Ashes series against Australia.
The Essex left-hander averages 42.78 in his 60 Tests, but his return drops markedly when he faces Australia.
Cook averages just 26.21 in Ashes contests with a solitary century in 19 Test innings.
Scores of 111 not out against South Australia in Adelaide and 60 against Australia A in Hobart may have boosted his confidence but he knows that will count for nothing if he doesn't replicate that form in the five Tests, starting at the Gabba on Thursday.
"It's something I've got to prove to people. I can't hide behind the facts of that statistic and hopefully over the next two months I can prove people wrong on that," Cook told reporters.
"But it doesn't bring any more pressure to it, there's enough already walking out to open for England in an Ashes series.
"I'm really looking forward to getting those runs behind me and improving my record against Australia."
England head into the Ashes series winning their tour games against Western Australia and Australia A and played a rain-affected draw with South Australia in Adelaide.
The tourists appear settled with no apparent injury and form concerns in contrast to the muddled leadup for Australia.
"We were very excited walking into the (Gabba) stadium. I walked in with Broady and Swanny (Stuart Broad and Graeme Swann), who hadn't been here before," Cook said.
"We've talked about not getting too emotional about how we play, just let all our focus be on our cricket skills.
"Try to take the emotion out. It will be there, but we're all experienced players and we'll have to handle it again.
"Australia have a great record here (unbeaten at the Gabba since 1988).
"We have a chance to do something very special."
Cook toured Australia as a 21-year-old, scoring 276 runs at 27.60 as Australia swept the 2006-07 series 5-0.
"I've experienced the highs and the lows and seen a lot more cricket," Cook said.
"I feel as though I'm more complete and understand what I have to do to score runs, and obviously the challenge of having that experience is using it in the right way."
England are preparing for a wicket that has pace and bounce, Cook said.
"We've got a good record at (Manchester's) Old Trafford which is a quick wicket as well, so we've got players who can play the pace and the bounce well," he said.
"We've got a good record against genuine quick bowling. If they come hard at us, they come hard at us."