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England’s Alastair Cook admits that India will be “itching for revenge” in one-day series next month

Alastair Cook has warned that India will be “itching” for revenge over England next month when the two teams resume their rivalry in a whirlwind one-day series.

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England will play five 50-over matches in five different cities in 11 days on a short but intensive tour that represents Cook’s biggest challenge as an international captain.

Their cause has been helped by injuries ruling Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag and Yuvraj Singh for the first two matches from the Indian squad which was announced on Thursday. Harbhajan Singh has surprisingly been dropped despite recovering from a side injury.

Regardless of the injuries, Cook is aware on their home territory India are far more able to plug gaps in the team than on the green, seaming pitches of a damp English summer.

“Of course it will be difficult over there,” he told Telegraph Sport. “They will have a point to prove and the conditions will obviously suit them. I doubt we will see much green grass on the wickets we play on. They are world champions at home and itching to get revenge. It is down to us and how we cope with conditions and how we play. The best players adapt to that. We have players who have never played in India in an England shirt. The learning curve will be so steep but they will handle it well.”

England have not beaten India in a one-day series in India since 1985 and their last two series ended in 5-1 and 5-0 thrashings. The usual failing of struggling on slow, turning pitches against spin bowling resurfaced during the World Cup in Asia last spring. It will be the ability to hit over the top, and straight, that will be crucial, particularly the Powerplay overs.

That is when Cook and his partner Craig Kieswetter will look to set the tone when the first match starts in Hyderabad on Oct 14. Kieswetter’s favourite scoring area is straight but Cook’s cutting and pulling will be nullified by the lack of pace in the pitch. However, he has a proven ability to work out a method of scoring runs even when conditions are not in his favour. He also flies to India on Monday riding on the confidence of a good summer in one-day cricket when he averaged 58, but more importantly, scored his runs at a strike rate of 95.

“It could not have gone too much better for me,” said Cook, who was speaking on behalf of England team sponsor Brit Insurance. “As a batsman I always said I could play one-day cricket for England. I had to back that up with action straightaway and as a captain you want to start well as a player. It gives you that added sense of authority. It kind of ends doubts and helps your captaincy.

“It takes time for you to get used to being captain of the side and the coach and players get used to you. Really I have only done it for six weeks. It takes longer than that but people are working out how I do things and what I expect from players.”

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