Alastair Cook is anxious to start England’s 2014 “journey” by kicking their losing habit, against Sri Lanka at The Oval.
England began their summer schedule by dodging the rain in Aberdeen for a comfortable one-day international success against Scotland two weeks ago.
But, in Cook’s absence, there was a reminder of their miserable winter in Tuesday’s narrow NatWest Twenty20 defeat to world champions Sri Lanka.
They will return to the same venue today, with Cook taking over from stand-in Twenty20 captain Eoin Morgan for a five-match Royal London ODI series.
He concedes a victory in the sprint format would have been preferable, but believes there were nonetheless encouraging signs on the way to a nine-run defeat.
“Any time you win is good. But credit to Sri Lanka – they played very well, and we couldn’t quite get over the line,” said Cook.
“At the crucial moments, we didn’t quite get our skills right whether it was with the ball, bat or fielding.
“For 85, probably 90 per cent of that game, we played really well.
“Maybe (it’s) the habit of not winning many games of cricket recently.
“These are games which – when you’re flying, as Sri Lanka are as world champions – you find a way of winning.”
Cook acknowledges that Sri Lanka will have extra confidence after their opening win, but insists his own side remain optimistic too.
“It does help when you’ve beaten a side. Certainly in our camp, you’d feel a lot better.
“When you’re on the end of a loss ... with a few different players coming back in ... you won’t look too much into the Twenty20 game. But of course, we would like to have won it.”
After England’s winter of Ashes whitewash – and early exit from the ICC World Twenty20 – Cook is impatient to get started again, with a new management regime in place.
“I think getting going are the right words.
“Since Australia, it’s been a long time – and we just want to get out there and play some cricket, and start whatever’s going to happen, the journey of the next year or so.
“It’s a bit weird. You turn up and train with half the guys, because the others are resting from Twenty20.
“Against Scotland, we put in a decent performance. But the summer starts now.”