Cricket: Alastair Cook has vowed to stay true to himself when he takes on the biggest job of his life tomorrow, that of England Test captain.
The challenges facing the skipper are sizeable, given that his side are bidding to upset the odds and win a first series in India for almost 30 years.
In addition, he also has to deal with the headache of a last-minute injury to Steven Finn (thigh) that has ruled him out of this first Test in Ahmedabad, while a question mark still hangs over Stuart Broad’s fitness (bruised heel).
But despite the pressure and the setbacks, Cook insisted he would give it his all.
He said: “I’m just going to try to do the best job I can, for however long I’m lucky enough to do it.
“You can’t change who you are, the type of bloke you are, and you’ve got to be authentic to who you are.
“I feel a mixture of everything. Obviously, I’m a bit excited about what’s going to happen, and a little bit nervous, but the overwhelming emotion is that I am very proud to be leading England.”
Finn’s injury means that England are likely to name Tim Bresnan as their third seamer behind James Anderson and possibly Broad, in an attack completed by Graeme Swann’s off-spin and all-rounder Samit Patel’s left-arm orthodox.
On a pitch already looking notably dry but surrounded by a lush outfield, a hedged bet between spin and reverse-swing is probably as well as they can do.
India, meanwhile, have an adoring yet demanding public to serve.
“There’s a lot of pressure, especially here in India, on the home team,” said Cook.
“But one thing they seem to have done over the years is cope with that.
“They have an excellent home record. So history says they can deal with pressure.
“Our job is to put them under some pressure.”
India are shorn of fast bowler Ishant Sharma (virus) but otherwise have a fully fit squad to choose from tomorrow.
And Cook’s opposite number Mahendra Singh Dhoni is looking forward to taking the fight to the tourists.
“You need to respect the opposition,” he said.
“Whichever country you are from, 60 or 70 per cent of your cricket will be played at home — so you’re supposed to be good there.
“When you go to a different part of the world, it’s a fresh challenge for you.
“When we go to a different place, it’s the same for us. I think it will be the same for the English side here.”