London: Bubbling with confidence after anemphatic semifinal triumph, England cricket captain Alastair Cook is hoping that it his team’s turn to lift the ICC Champions Trophy come Sunday. “I’ve got no doubt that the guys in our dressing room will turn up on Sunday. You know, I’m fully confident in the lads that they can do that. I just hope it’s our turn,” Cook said after the seven-wicket win over South Africa in the first semi-final here yesterday.
“…finals can bring out the best in people, and I think this England side in particular has delivered certainly when the chips have been down and the pressure has been up at its highest,” he told reporters in the post-match press conference.
“It would be a massive achievement. It’s very hard to do. It’s taken a long time to get to the finals. We got to the finals in 2004 and couldn’t quite get over the line. I hope this time we can get one better.”
Cook said he never thought that the win against South Africa, who were bowled out for 175, would be so comfortable. “Obviously if we had said we’d win by seven wickets by 5:00 o’clock today as we walked to the grounds, obviously, we would have almost laughed at you. But clearly it was a good toss to win, adjusted enough and it swung, first on the white ball,” he said.
“It swung conventionally in this tournament. Probably down to the muggy conditions. It’s obviously, quite warm out there today.
“When it does swing like that, there is no bowler in the world you’d want other than Jimmy (Anderson) bowling with it. Obviously, he was outstanding, and the other guys backed himup,” he added.
Asked about ace spinner Graeme Swann, who missed the match due to injury, Cook said, “…it’s going to be a very tough selection call if Swann is fit. It’s a good headache to have. We’ve been over the last couple games when Swanny has missed out.”
“We’ve been saying how lucky we are to have Tredders (James Tredwell) as back-up. He’s more than back-up at the moment; he’s been outstanding,” Cook said.
“So it’s going to be a tough selection call if Swanny is fit. As I said, we won’t risk it if it’s touch and go.” South Africa coach Gary Kirsten said his team choked once again in a high-voltage game but Cook felt he never banked on Proteas succumbing to pressure for his team’s victory.
“No. I think when you’re out there in the middle, you don’t want to use those terms or anything like that because they’ve got such a strong middle-order. They’re 10 for 3 or 20 for 3 or something, and they can rebuild. So you’re always pushing and trying to keep your foot on their throat. We did it all the way up to that partnership,” he said.
England had lost to Sri Lanka in their final group game before heading for the semifinals but Cook said the team’s morale has remained high.
“We just need one more performance from whoever out of the 11 guys that are picked. Two of the guys stand up and deliver a performance, a man of the match performance and you can win the trophy. That’s how exciting and how close you are to doing it. It’s a good dressing room to be in when you’re in the final of a major tournament,” he said.
Asked to compare the Ashes with a Champions Trophy triumph, Cook said it was a tough one to pick.
“I think it’s a great achievement. It’s very hard to compare between one-day and the Ashes and stuff. It’s very clear at the beginning of summer we have certain goals we wanted to try to achieve, and one of them was to win the Champions Trophy,” he said.
“And we’ve given ourselves a great opportunity to do that…And as I said today we were excellent, and it’s in our own hands. If we turn up and deliver good skills, we have a good chance of winning,” he added.