Batting still Cook's main focus

25 October 2012 03:43:39 EST

England captain Alastair Cook insists that his batting will still come first despite taking over the leadership of the Test team.

Cook headed off on his first tour in charge today - the four-match campaign in India - in the knowledge that predecessor Andrew Strauss' great run at the helm concluded with a fallow period.

Your job in the side fundamentally is to score runs.

Alastair Cook

The 27-year-old has inherited the top job after 83 appearances at Test level, and 6,555 runs and 20 hundreds under his belt.

"Batting comes first - when you are batting," explained Cook. "When you are concentrating on your batting skills, whether you are in the nets or whether you are facing another 1,000 balls from Graham Gooch, or just thinking about batting, you must be fully focused on that job.

"Your job in the side fundamentally is to score runs, and in that way it is vital to the captaincy. In my mind I have managed to get that balance right in one-day cricket but Test cricket will be the ultimate examination.

"If I don't score runs then the press will be talking about it, so I hope I can make sure it does not become a talking point."

Essex opener Cook struck his maiden Test hundred on debut in Nagpur six years ago but missed England's only victory on the subcontinent since 1984-85 when he went down ill on the eve of the match in Mumbai a fortnight later.

This time, England begin their series in Ahmedabad on 15th November and return to both Nagpur and Mumbai in addition to visiting Kolkata.

England are 9/2 to win the first Test while India are available at 6/5 to take a 1-0 lead in the series. A draw can be backed at 11/8.

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