Nagpur: For an England cricketer, winning The Ashes is certainly of paramount importance.
However, the 2-1 series victory in India would be on a par with their triumph in the 2010-11 Ashes, said England captain Alastair Cook.
A legend in Steve Waugh, too, had failed to conquer the ‘final frontier.’ But Captain Cook has.
And no wonder, he’s elated with such an “incredible achievement.”
“It’s on a par with winning in Australia… As an Englishman, a win over Australia means huge. But here, the dressing room, especially in the last half hour or so, knowing what we had achieved, was a very special place to be in. It will stay in my memory… I’m going to enjoy it,” Cook said.
He was all praise for centurions Jonathan Trott and Ian Bell, both of whom batted almost throughout the final day at the VCA Stadium to kill India’s prospects of a comeback.
“The way Trott and Bell batted today was a calming influence. The whole squad has played its part and everyone has contributed. I’m searching for words to praise their terrific effort and the willingness to learn enough.
“It was truly a very tough challenge,” Cook said, adding: “It’s been an incredible tour.
“To keep India out, and the convincing way we batted today, was really fantastic. We were obviously nervous knowing how close we were to doing something really special. Nonetheless, to eventually go out and do it as convincingly as we did was incredible.”
The England captain hailed the performances of pacer James Anderson and spinners Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar that helped turn the tables against India. “Halfway through Day II in Mumbai, we were getting rolled a bit. But as I said before, if we could play close to our potential as a side, we had a chance of winning. And we did that.
“Our bowling attack has proven itself over a number of years. Monty coming in was fantastic… Jimmy was outstanding with his reverse swing, while Swanny, too, was great.
“In fact, we are very lucky to have two spinners who are up there among the best in the world.
“Clearly we got it wrong in Ahmedabad when we didn’t play Monty. But when we put that right, he was brilliant,” Cook said.
The century in Ahmedabad, when England looked down and out, was the most satisfying knock as far as Cook is concerned. “For me, personally, to score a hundred in the first game was the most satisfying I could achieve… That’s because of the circumstances. Now you need to ask the other guys whether that inspired them. If it did, it would mean a huge amount to me,” he gushed.
Talking about comparisons between him and former captain Andrew Strauss, Cook said: “We’re quite similar characters — me and Straussy. It’s my least favourite question when you ask me about my style.
“The best you can do is to be true to yourself and take the right decisions as the captain. As of now, it’s been a dream start. As a captain, you are always learning, especially on your first tour in tougher conditions as these.
“I think tactically we’ve improved as a side as the tour went on.”