Cook puts behind Ashes on 'back of mind' to focus on Champions Trophy clash with Oz

Johannesburg, June 8 (ANI): England captain Alastair Cook has said that he has put the upcoming Ashes series on the back of his mind to focus solely on facing their old foes Australia in their ICC Champions Trophy opener at Edgbaston on Saturday.

England go into the eight-nation tournament on the back of an 2-1 ODI series defeat at home to New Zealand earlier this month, while Australia were shot out for 65 in a warm-up game against India, Sport24 reports.

Stating that despite the Ashes series being much talked as it is coming up soon, Cook, however, said that they will be focusing on the Champions Trophy as it is also an important event, adding that they need to win in their first game to get off to a good start as they are going to play against a tough Australian side.

According to Cook, an initial win was important to improve chances of taking one of the two semifinal berths from Group A, which also includes New Zealand and Sri Lanka, adding that despite the tournament being a tough one, it will be a great one because it of its quickness.

Stressing that warm-up results will mean little when both England and Australia take the field at Edgbaston, Cook said that a team will be remembered for their performance in the actual tournament, instead of what happened in the warm-up games, adding that their performance against New Zealand will also not affect their game with Australia today.

Although Australia will be without captain Michael Clarke on Saturday due to a recurring back injury but Cook said that his absence did not give England an undue advantage, adding that Australia has a good squad and some fine replacements, although it would be a loss for them to miss a player of Clarke's stature and quality.

As England has never won a major one-day international title although they were crowned World Twenty20 champions in 2010, Cook hopes that the drought ends in what is the last edition of the Champions Trophy, adding that along with the 2015 World Cup, the Champions Trophy is also a very important tournament for them. (ANI)


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