Captain Cook plans voyage of discovery for his critics

ALASTAIR Cook has vowed to prove his doubters wrong when he resumes his England one-day career as captain against Sri Lanka today.

While he has become a mainstay of the Test side since his international bow five years ago, there have long been question marks over whether Cook's style is suitable for the faster-paced limited-overs game.

He has played just 26 one-day internationals and four Twenty20 matches for his country and has not pulled on a coloured England shirt for 15 months, when he captained the tour to Bangladesh in Andrew Strauss' absence.

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His leadership credentials have once again proved to be his door to the one-day side following Strauss' retirement from the format, and he believes he is ready to transfer his stellar recent form in the longer format to the five-match series against Sri Lanka. "As an international player you are always under pressure and you've always got to prove yourself," he said.

"I'm excited by that challenge and I think my one-day game has evolved. In Bangladesh I scored runs and I scored them quickly. I know I have the talent and the skills to do it. Every time I wasn't playing Test cricket I went back to Essex to play one-day cricket. It's part of the skill-set you need to develop the ability to change your method. I'm nowhere near the finished article and I've got a lot of work to do, but I'm prepared to do it."

Cook's limited-overs record is, perhaps, not as modest as it has been depicted in some quarters.

He has five half-centuries to go with a hundred against India and looked a more aggressive player when he opened the innings against Bangladesh last year, making 64 and 60 at virtually a run a ball.

His detractors remain though, most notably former England skipper Mike Atherton, who this week described Cook as a "plodder" and also queried his usefulness in the field in one-dayers.

Asked about those comments, Cook joked: "It takes one to know one, I suppose. Everybody is entitled to their opinion. But I've scored a one-day hundred for England. I know I can score runs at the top of the order and I'm excited that I'm in a good place to go and show that. It doesn't matter if it's being ignored, I know I can score runs and score them quickly, I have my own style of doing it."

Cook's most obvious role model in terms of restructuring his Test game to suit the shorter form is his predecessor as ODI skipper. By the time he retired from one-dayers following this year's World Cup, Strauss had developed into a risk-taking strokemaker and was one of the team's danger men. Cook now hopes to follow the same route.

"I think Straussy's a great example for me," he said. "When he first started playing one-day cricket I think he had a strike-rate of about 65, maybe 70. Towards the end his career strike-rate was up to 80. You can evolve, you can improve and he certainly did that. Hopefully I can follow in his footsteps."Yorkshire all-rounder Tim Bresnan has been added to the squad for the series after recovering from a calf problem that has been a hindrance since the one-day series in Australia at the start of the year. He has played twice for Yorkshire in the Friends Life t20 in the past week.