It is 38 years since England began trying, and failing, to win a one-day international global tournament.
At the 17th attempt, and in their fifth final, the Champions Trophy hosts are once again within one success - against India in Birmingham - of at last claiming a piece of the silverware that has eluded England for so long.
None of that ominous back story is lost on Cook, of course, who has the chance - weather permitting, with rain forecast and no reserve day to salvage anything other than a shared trophy - to break his own duck in his first International Cricket Council campaign.
Cook, and a clutch of his 50-over team-mates, will switch their minds immediately after Sunday's showpiece back to Test cricket - and specifically, on July 10 at Trent Bridge, the first of 10 Ashes Tests home and away in six months.
Yet asked whether Sunday's assignment is equally deserving of top-rank importance, in his career and to England, he was unequivocal.
"Yes, it is," he said. "We haven't won a global 50-over tournament, as everyone keeps reminding me every time I sit in one of these press conferences.
"We're desperately keen to try and change that.
"This would be right up there. It would be a great achievement if we can do that, if we can win, and one which we will cherish.
"There's certain moments in your career you remember more than others, and if we can win this tomorrow [Sunday] I think that would be right up there."
Cook is convinced his team are ready to peak, as they must against opponents who have won all their four matches with ease in this tournament.
"The lads are raring to go," he said.
"I've never seen them as relaxed as we have been actually leading up to a big game.
"I'm looking around in the guys' eyes, and I know they're ready."
England's campaign has not quite hit the heights of India's, and has not been without controversy, thanks first to Joe Root's late-night bar-room encounter with Australia opener David Warner and then accusations of ball-tampering levelled against Cook's team by former Test captain Bob Willis.
In between, England followed their opening success on this ground against the Aussies with a seven-wicket defeat at the hands of Sri Lanka at The Oval and then a hard-fought win over New Zealand in their final group match at Cardiff.
Like India against Sri Lanka, however, they stormed past South Africa in their Oval semi-final.
A return to Birmingham brings with it uplifting memories too, of facing India.
It was at this venue two years ago that England routed India by an innings and 242 runs to go to the top of the International Cricket Council's Test rankings for the first time.
There was an uneasy backdrop to the third of four unanswered Test wins that summer, in a country rocked by city-centre riots in both Birmingham and London.
The national mood is more equable at present, but even so a second successive world-beating feat against the same exalted opponents at this ground would not go amiss.
Cook confirms there is no lack of self-belief about England's capabilities.
"Without a doubt - that's why we're here," said the captain. "That's why we've got to the final.
"We've been playing some good cricket, and it's an opportunity we're desperate not to let go."
To that end, he admits he and coach Ashley Giles may have a tricky decision on their hands on Sunday if they have to pick between a fit Graeme Swann and in-form James Tredwell as their frontline spinner.
Asked that very question, the captain said: "I think we do, yes, if he [Swann] pulls up well tomorrow.
"But he won't be risked if there's a slight doubt."
Before either of the off-spinners enters the equation, however, England will be pinning their hopes on the new ball - and James Anderson, in particular - to make inroads into a powerhouse India batting line-up which has been so dominant over the past two-and-a-half weeks.
"If you do take some early wickets and put some pressure on their middle order - who haven't batted so much - that could work well for us," said Cook, who concedes nonetheless that India's top three and their improving seam attack make for a potent combination.
"I think that's why they're probably the favourites and they haven't lost, because both the key aspects of their game are working really well.
"They're scoring runs at the top of the order and taking wickets with the new ball."
Cook's mission is to disrupt at least one of those components as his history boys seek a significant moment redemption for English cricket.