England Test captain Alastair Cook ready for tough challenge
By Matthew Treadwell
Last Updated: 18/10/16 2:34pm
Alastair Cook is ready for a tough schedule of matches as he prepares to become England’s most-capped Test player when he leads his side out against Bangladesh on Thursday, live on Sky Sports.
Cook will break Alec Stewart's record of 133 Test matches for his country in Chittagong, having joined up with his team-mates on Monday following the birth of his second child.
Two Tests against Bangladesh are immediately followed by a challenging five-Test series against India, but Cook, who has a good record on the sub-continent having hit eight hundreds with an average over 60, feels the punishing run of matches will bring the players together.
"We have got seven games in these conditions and it's going to be a challenge," he told Sky Sports News HQ.
"For however long I've played for England, I've never experienced seven Test matches in eight weeks in the sub-continent.
"But these challenges can really unite a side and we have to get off to a good start."
As for the England Test appearances record he is about to break, Cook modestly admits luck and timing have played their part in helping him keep his place in the side for such an extended period.
"I started however many years ago and you never thought you'd get anywhere near so to break a record like that is very special," he added.
"A lot of luck, I suppose, is needed with injuries and all that stuff and to score just enough runs at the right time to keep yourself in the team.
"If you're being brutally honest, over the last two or three weeks it hasn't been that close to my mind with other things. The family stuff has taken that away so I haven't really thought about it."
The "family stuff" cook refers to is the birth of his second daughter at the weekend, with the 31-year-old having missed both of England's warm-up games in order to attend the birth.
"It was a proud day, quite an emotional 48 hours," said Cook.
"As you can imagine, having another daughter and then leaving so soon afterwards doesn't make you feel like the best husband or father in the world.
"It's great that mum and baby are doing very well. [They are] very special moments but I'm out here now so I've got to go and play some cricket."
Watch the opening Test between Bangladesh and England on Thursday. Coverage begins on Sky Sports 2 HD and Sky Sports Mix at 4:30am.