MUMBAI: England's new Test captain Alastair Cook said on Monday his team was determined to defy history and win a Test series in India for the first time in 27 years.
England last won a series on Indian soil way back in 1985 when David Gower's men came from behind after losing the first Test to win 2-1, but Cook said the upcoming four-match series will be keenly fought.
“This is undoubtedly a huge challenge for us,” Cook told reporters after the squad arrived in Mumbai for the double-leg tour which also includes two Twenty20 games and five one-day internationals.
“History suggests it is hard to win in India. After all we have not won a series here in almost 30 years.
“But we have a great squad determined to do well. We are aware of the challenges and look forward to the series.
“It is going to be a huge series because it is between two very good sides. Both sides have world-class players and whoever handles the conditions better will win.”
Cook, 27, took over as skipper after Andrew Strauss retired at the end of the last home series against South Africa, which the tourists won 2-0 to take over from England as the top-ranked Test side.
The Essex opener has previously led England in two Tests in Bangladesh in 2010 when Strauss chose to rest, but the India series will be his first as a full-time captain.
It was in India in 2006 that Cook made a memorable Test debut, scoring 60 and an unbeaten 104 in Nagpur after being flown in from the 'A' tour of the West Indies to replace Marcus Trescothick.
“I have some very good memories of India,” he said.
“It is a great place to play cricket and there is a lot of passion for the game here.
“I look forward to doing well here but all of us will have to contribute with bat and ball if we are going to win.”
England will face a home team keen to make amends for the humiliating 4-0 defeat in England last year that dethroned Mahendra Singh Dhoni's men as the number one Test side.
Cook wanted his team to prepare for the Test series, which opens in Ahmedabad on November 15, by winning the three preceding warm-up matches. “There is no better way to prepare than win these matches,” he said.
“They are not merely warm-up games, they are first-class matches. We need to get used to the conditions as early as possible.”
The first warm-up match against India 'A' starts at the Brabourne stadium in Mumbai on Tuesday. This will be followed by another three-day fixture in Mumbai and a four-day game in Ahmedabad.
The four back-to-back Tests will be held in Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Kolkata and Nagpur.
The tourists, who will also play two Twenty20 matches after the Tests, will go home for Christmas before returning in the New Year for a five-match one-day series.