Alastair Cook insists he can see in his England teammates’ eyes that they are ready to help him make history at Edgbaston on Sunday. It is 38 years since England began trying, and failing, to win a one-day international global tournament.
At the 17th attempt, and in their fifth final, the Champions Trophy hosts are once again within one success — against India in Birmingham — of at last claiming a piece of the silverware that has eluded England for so long.
None of that ominous back story is lost on Cook, of course, who has the chance, weather permitting, with rain forecast and no reserve day to salvage anything other than a shared trophy to break his own duck in his first International Cricket Council campaign.
Cook, and a clutch of his 50-over teammates, will switch their minds immediately after Sunday’s showpiece back to Test cricket and specifically, on July 10 at Trent Bridge, the first of 10 Ashes Tests home and away in six months.
Yet asked whether Sunday’s assignment is equally deserving of top-rank importance, in his career and to England, he was unequivocal. “Yes, it is,” he said. “We haven’t won a global 50-over tournament, as everyone keeps reminding me every time I sit in one of these press conferences.
“We’re desperately keen to try and change that. This would be right up there. It would be a great achievement if we can win. There’s certain moments in your career you remember more than others, and if we can win this tomorrow I think that would be right up there.”
Cook is convinced his team are ready to peak, as they must against opponents who have won all their four matches with ease in this tournament.
“The lads are raring to go,” he said. “I’ve never seen them as relaxed as we have been actually leading up to a big game. I’m looking around in the guys’ eyes, and I know they’re ready.”