Mumbai: England captain Alastair Cook on Monday described the forthcoming four-Test series against India as a huge challenge as no team from his country has won a Test series here for three decades.
"It's a huge challenge as history suggests. It is so hard for an English side to win in the sub-continent. We are just desperate to use the conditions in these three (warm-up) games and change things around," he said at his post-arrival media conference.
"Clearly the history shows how hard it is (to win in India). It's been 30 years (since England won a Test series in India). That's the sort of challenge we have ahead of us.
"Nowhere is it going to be easy; there are going to be really tough hurdles on the way. We have to overcome those challenges. As players we put ourselves in that situation as to what we want to do. If we want to be tested against the best in hard conditions then this tour is up there," Cook said.
The 2-1 Test series victory after coming from a match down in 1984-85 under David Gower was the last time England had beaten India on the latter's shores.
The England team, baring Kevin Pietersen, flew in early this morning from Dubai.Pietersen arrived late Sunday night by a separate flight after taking part in the Champions League T20 in South Africa for Delhi DareDevils.
"Both sides have world class players. It's going to be a fantastic series to watch. Whichever team handles the conditions better will win the series," said the England captain, who had made his Test debut with a half century and an unbeaten ton in Nagpur six years ago.
Cook was not too concerned about the nature of wickets that India would offer. "We can't control the wickets... We have to adapt to whatever the conditions are. I am sure India will have to do the same job," he said.
Cook said there was no quick fix to play spin bowling, perceived as his team's biggest threat from the Indian ranks, in the sub continent and it has to be learnt gradually.
Team director Andy Flower said his team also focused on playing seam bowling in Dubai apart from spin.
"Seamers can take wickets in these conditions. So that was part of our focus as well," he said.
He also said that Stuart Broad is the team's vice-captain for the tour.
"Kevin will play tomorrow (Tuesday) and go at No. 4. It's been a day of recovery. We have seen Kevin, he's desperate to get going and we are desperate to have him back in the team. It's always great to have a world class player in the team," said Flower.
"We want to play outstanding cricket that we are capable of. He's played a huge amount of cricket and a lot in the sub-continent and in the IPL and that experience will be valuable for us," said Flower. (agencies)