England captain Alastair Cook admits talk has turned to winning four straight Ashes series but is more worried about keeper Matt Prior’s fitness.
Winning a fourth straight Ashes series has already been talked about by a super confident England ahead of the first Test starting in Brisbane on Thursday, captain Alastair Cook admits.
But the main conversation topic on Wednesday was whether veteran wicketkeeper Matt Prior (calf) would provide England yet another boost and line up against Australia at the Gabba.
While Cook admitted it was “a little bit dangerous” to address it, he conceded that locker room chatter had touched on the prospect of becoming the first English team since 1890 to keep the urn for four straight series.
“It’s been spoken about a bit but you have to put that stuff to bed,” he said.
“It’s a little bit dangerous when you do that.
“(But) it’s a nice position to be in, to chase records.”
And Cook made it clear records were made to be broken as Australia looked to extend their 25-year unbeaten Gabba run.
He compared Australia’s Brisbane achievement to their form at Lord’s where they had not been defeated for 75 years – until they were crushed by 115 runs in 2009.
Australia have now lost their last two Lord’s Tests.
“We have spoken about their record here, not losing in 25 years is obviously a good achievement,” Cook said.
“But we spoke about Lord’s in 2009.
“We made a conscious decision to change that. This side has done that a number of times – when there are challenges ahead of us they have delivered.”
And England’s confidence will go up another notch if Prior receives the nod on Thursday morning.
Prior underwent a gruelling examination of his calf complaint on Wednesday, chiming into slips training before enduring one on one drills on the Gabba ground.
His understudy Jonny Bairstow meanwhile kicked a Sherrin around with two teammates nearby.
Veteran gloveman Prior is considered crucial to England making a bit of history in Australia and won’t be short of motivation after being a rare weak link in this year’s Ashes series success, amassing just 86 runs at 14.33 with 16 catches.
The make-up of England’s attack appeared clearer with Chris Tremlett set to snap up the third seamer spot after being spotted marking out his run up on Thursday.
Apart from breaking Australia’s Gabba spirit, Cook said England wanted to celebrate controversial batsman Kevin Pietersen’s 100-Test milestone.
“It’s an outstanding achievement. It shows not only class but longevity. Hopefully we can make it a great occasion,” he said.
And like every one-eyed Australian fan, Cook’s thoughts also turned to public enemy No.1 Stuart Broad.
Branded a cheat for not walking at Trent Bridge this year, Broad is sure to earn the Gabba faithful’s ire – and it seems Cook wouldn’t have it any other way.
“He’s a very combative character. He’s an in your face cricketer. I like that about him,” he said.