Alastair Cook sees bright future for England

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England captain Alastair Cook is confident his 2015 Ashes winners can achieve a consolidation which proved beyond their 2005 predecessors.

Cook's team already have the chance at The Oval this week to go one better than any of those who went before them, by winning a fourth home Ashes Test in the same summer.

Irrespective of how the fifth match of the Investec series pans out, the captain is confident there is significant power to add.


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Cook cites an average age, even accounting for veterans such as all-time leading wicket-taker James Anderson, which is significantly younger than others who have won the urn in recent times.

Should England beat Australia again in the final Test, they will move up from sixth to second in the world rankings.

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Cook, over the 'wobbles' which saw him briefly question whether he wanted to stay in charge beyond his current three-year tenure, senses further progress too.

"The guys have been fantastic this summer," he said.

"We've played two really good sides and I think we've played some really good cricket, which the public has enjoyed watching.

"That's what has been exciting."

England have an undeniably tough winter ahead, against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates and then South Africa.

But Cook added: "Perhaps unlike other teams in the past - like 2005, that Ashes was their pinnacle and what they built for for two to three years - I genuinely believe this side has more ahead of it.

"We've got an interesting winter, we've two real tough places to go, but if you're looking at the balance of our squad then I think we've got a real opportunity to go there and play well in those conditions.

"Everyone knows now that home advantage in international cricket is a really big thing, and to go away and win anywhere is a really fantastic achievement."

"But I'm seeing the squad develop and actually thinking we can go there and do a lot of good things."

A clutch of fast-improving young players convince him of that.

"You'll see the likes of Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes, improving as cricketers, and Joe Root, even though he's number one, getting better," said Cook.

"I saw a stat that the 2010 side was two to three years older on average. So this is a younger side and it's very exciting."

While Cook contemplates a long-term Test future, Australia captain Michael Clarke cannot as he is about to retire.

The 34-year-old will do so after his fourth successive Ashes series defeat in England, where he has won only three Tests out of 19 since 2005.

"There are no fairytales, are there?" said Clarke.

"But we've got a lot of reasons to come out here and try to play our best cricket.

"This Test is as much about our character as anything else."

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England cricket
The Ashes

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