Captain Alastair Cook looks to usher in new dawn for England
Alastair Cook has urged a new wave of England hopefuls to prove themselves in the County Championship.
Last Updated: 15/04/14 5:22pm
The England captain, who oversaw a disastrous winter in which his side were whitewashed by Australia in the Ashes, has revealed there are "quite a few places" up for grabs and says the early part of the domestic season will be a huge chance for a number of players to force their way in.
With batsman Kevin Pietersen sacked, spinner Graeme Swann retired and a number of previously established Test players under major scrutiny, the coming international summer has been tipped as a new dawn for English cricket.
"It's an exciting time for the international team in that, for the first time in a long time, there are quite a few places up for grabs," he said.
"That happens when you lose games and we lost five pretty heavily. Everyone knows this and good performances in the County Championship over the next few months will push people's claims. I don't think you rule anyone out."
Cook returned to county cricket himself over the weekend, scoring 181 for Essex in their second innings against Derbyshire at Chelmsford, while fellow top-order batsman Ian Bell also made a century for Warwickshire.
Speaking to BBC Radio Essex, Cook added: "I've hit the ball quite nicely myself over the last few weeks or so. It's nice to go on and make a sizeable contribution for Essex."
England host Sri Lanka in the first series of the summer over May and June before India arrive in July for a five-Test series, five one-day internationals and a single Twenty20 international at Edgbaston.