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England's Alastair Cook keen to show captaincy style

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Cook vows to be his own man

Stand-in captain Alastair Cook aims to do things his way as he deputises for the rested Andrew Strauss on England's Test and ODI tour of Bangladesh.

England initially fly to Dubai for three Twenty20s against Pakistan under Paul Collingwood's captaincy before Cook takes over in Bangladesh.

Opening batsman Cook, 25, said: "It's exciting to put my stamp on the team.

"I've got to do it my way. I've obviously been thinking about our team and how we can improve in Bangladesh."

Cook's first key engagement is the first of three one-day internationals on 28 February as he takes charge of a team who have shown signs of revival in the 50-over format, winning the series in South Africa.

Bangladesh have only recorded three wins after nine and a half years in Test cricket so Cook will be expected to fashion two handsome Test victories in March.

The left-handed batsman produced some good personal performances in the drawn Test series in South Africa either side of Christmas following a rocky Ashes but is aware that some England captains have suffered when taking on the extra responsibilities of captaincy.

Cook added: "History suggests [loss of form] does happen but it's up to me to use my experience to separate the two things. I'm confident I can do it but results will show."

The Essex player, who cited his close relationship with coach Andy Flower from their time together at Chelmsford as a significant aid, is not treating his upcoming assignment as an audition to take the England captaincy on a permanent basis in the future.

Cook stated: "I'm looking at this as a six-week block and not looking too far ahead. I'm very excited by the challenge and slightly nervous as well, but it's a great opportunity for me to learn about the role and give a good account of myself.

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"Hopefully it will benefit me as a person and a cricketer. Creating more leaders in the English side will help Straussy when he comes back too, but to lead out my country will be thrilling.

"[Strauss] will be on the end of the phone if I want to chat to him too but we have a lot of experience in the squad. If you try to be something you're not it's very hard to keep that up and I'm definitely doing to do it my way."

The decision by Strauss to miss the less glamorous half of England's winter has prompted debate with former Australia star Shane Warne among those to criticise the Middlesex man, accusing Strauss of a "lack of respect for Test cricket".

Cook predictably defended England's Ashes-winning skipper, however, saying: "It was a huge decision for Straussy, a very proactive one and a decision he hasn't taken lightly at all. He feels he needs a rest.

"He took a lot of time to make the decision. [Australia captain] Ricky Ponting missed five one-dayers after the Ashes so I don't think there's that much difference.

"He [Strauss] is looking ahead to what is a huge period for us over the next 18 months with the Ashes and the World Cup.

"The amount of effort he and Andy have put in over the last 12 months has taken a bit of a toll on him and he needs this break so he can have a full burst leading the side forward."

Bangladesh provides England with their last experience on the sub-continent ahead of the 2011 World Cup in the same part of the world - and their opponents have scored one-off wins in one-day internationals against teams as strong as South Africa, India and Australia in the past.

Cook said: "It's a tough place to go and play and we've got to focus on our performances. It's a massive stepping stone towards the World Cup on the sub-continent."



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see also
Warne blasts Strauss Test absence
08 Feb 10 |  England
Cook stands in for jaded Strauss
18 Jan 10 |  England
Jonathan Agnew column
18 Jan 10 |  England
Ex-captains divided over Strauss
18 Jan 10 |  England
England in UAE & Bangladesh 2010
23 Feb 10 |  Cricket


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