Cook: English cricket has taken a hammering

England captain Alastair Cook admits that English cricket has taken a 'hammering' over the last year or so but the rebuilding of the side starts with the first Test against New Zealand at Lord's on Thursday.

The Three Lions play the Black Caps in a two Test series which precedes an Ashes tour in what could be a defining English season for Cook and his team.

England were horrible at the World Cup. going home after the group stages, and then drew a Test series against the lowly ranked West Indies in the Caribbean.

Those efforts saw the ECB appoint a new Director of Cricket in Andrew Strauss and he immediately sacked Peter Moores as coach. Strauss also poured cold water on a return to the national side of exiled batsman Kevin Pietersen, saying the Board and the maverick player have massive 'trust issues'.

While all this has been going on, the England team have fallen out of favour with their own public and Cook knows the only way to out that right is with results on the field, starting with the Black Caps.

On the eve of the first Test, Cook said: "I absolutely understand that cricket has taken hammering over the past 18 months. There has been a real big change, but we're now focussing on playing. It's a really exciting time.

"Everyone who follows the England cricket team wants us to be successful. We know the pressure but it's a great pressure."

The skipper also felt that the sacking of Moores was a tough call saying he enjoyed his time working with the former coach.

Cook continued: "It was a tough call and we all feel for Peter Moores. He was a players' coach, a guy who right on the pulse. Getting the best out of people was his real strength. As a player and captain I loved my time with Mooresy."