Alastair Cook says it would be wrong for England not to think about winning four consecutive Ashes series for the first time since the 19th century.
The last time England won four straight Ashes rubbers was under the captaincy of W.G. Grace in 1890, completing a sequence of eight in a row that started with the inaugural series in 1882/83.
Having been victorious in 2009, 2010/11 and this year – Cook’s three Ashes series – England can make modern-day history this winter.
Speaking exclusively to ecb.co.uk, current skipper Cook said: “I think it would be wrong not to think about it.
“I think I said at the beginning of the summer when we had the opportunity to win an Ashes series and the Champions Trophy – the 50-over side hadn’t won a global tournament – to win an Ashes in two months, yes, there’s a lot of hard work but there’s an opportunity and you have to look at opportunities.
“We didn’t quite take that Champions Trophy one. The more it goes on, the more it hurts because we had a golden opportunity to do that, but we won the Ashes. And I kept saying it was an opportunity at the beginning of that summer and it’s no different now.
“You don’t know what’s going to happen in the next three months, but what is in front of us is the opportunity to play well and to do something special and to win four in a row, which hasn’t been done for a very long time, and as a side you want to be involved in that sort of thing.”
Cook, who was vice-captain to Andrew Strauss during 2010/11’s 3-1 triumph, is not assuming England will make it four in a row.
“It’s going to be a good series. It’s going to be a hard series in terms of the batters we’re going to be playing,” he added.
“They’re a good side at home. You saw how they played against South Africa a couple of years ago and it’s pretty much the same team as that.
“We know we’ve got to be on top of our game to do something special and that’s the beauty of sport.”
Cook will be able to draw on the experience of the Ashes captaincy he gained in this summer’s 3-0 victory, albeit he knows playing Australia away holds different challenges.
“Clearly on tour you’re together as a unit rather than after every game you go home and get a couple of days away from it,” he said. “By the end of the tour you might be a bit tireder, I suppose, because that challenge you’re constantly always under, but not really.
“The Ashes is different cricket; it is different cricket and as a captain you have to adjust to that. I think being through what I have this summer, experiencing that, puts you in a better place when you’ve been through it and you survived and think ‘I did alright’.
“I’m looking forward to the challenge of going away and playing.”
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