Bound to happen for some time now, England’s Alastair Cook finally called time on one of the more memorable test careers in International cricket. We’ve witnessed the highs and lows in a career spanning for over a decade now, unfortunately the mental edge in Cook’s game just isn’t there anymore which has resulted in numerous form slumps over the past couple of years.
1st March 2006 – destination Nagpur, India. England is touring one of the most hostile cricketing locations in the world at the time, and they’re up against some of the biggest names featuring Sehwag, Tendulkar, Dravid, Laxman and Kumble. Enter Alastair Cook, a skinny 20-year-old opening batsman making his test debut in foreign conditions. Cook was one of four debutantes in the match, but little did we know he’d go on to become one of England’s greatest ever test batsmen. Walking out to the middle on day 1, the conditions were perfect on a deck that proved challenging to hit the scoreboard. The English debutante scored a battling-60 striking at just 37.50, little did we know that’s how his entire test career would turn out. The story doesn’t end there, the 20-year-old opener scored a test century on debut in the second innings where he lasted 364 minutes at the crease where both he and Paul Collingwood were able to salvage a draw for their country. From that day onwards, a star was born.
Reflecting on a brilliant career which mostly revolved around the test arena, Alastair Cook will forever be remembered as a batsman with tremendous mental toughness with a gritty approach. He was like a human shield at times, opposition bowlers would throw everything at the English opener including dart-like yorkers, unplayable deliveries and bouncers peppering the badge of Cook’s helmet, yet he’d still be there venturing into the second session of play. The 33-year-old wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea when it came to watching a game of cricket, his scoring rate had the ability to be ridiculously slow, but in some ways that made him the resilient opening batsman he is today. It’s rare to see an opening batsman act as an anchor, but Cook was exactly that. He’d just about take all the shine off the ball with his own willow, paving the way for his teammates below him.
England’s most fierce rivalry was hands down against the Australians, The Ashes was and still is one of the biggest fixture’s on both countries sporting calendars. This series was like a pendulum, the momentum could swing either way which potentially led to either team’s demise. Unfortunately for Alastair Cook, his first ever Ashes series was a rather forgettable one where England went down to Australia 5-0 on enemy territory. One of Cook’s most memorable Ashes moments took place on Australian soil at the Gabba where the English opener flogged the opposition with the bat in their second innings. The Poms scored 517 runs in that innings with Cook scoring an unbeaten 235 from 428 deliveries; he was out in the middle for almost 11 hours of play! England went on to win that series 3-1, and Cook was awarded player of the series capping off a memorable tour. He went on to score a total of 11 fifties and 5 hundreds against Australia in test cricket.
Just to give you an idea of how Alastair Cook’s test career stacks up against the best of the best – he’s currently England’s leading run scorer in test cricket with 12,325 (next best is Graham Gooch with 8900) and currently sits sixth on test crickets all-time leading run scorers sitting just below the likes of Tendulkar, Ponting, Kallis, Dravid and Sangakkara. On a lighter note, Alastair has one test career wicket to his name which has resulted in his average plummeting to 7, not a bad statistic to brag about amongst the bowlers over a couple beers. As the sun sets on an accomplished test career, Alastair Cook will walk off the ground in London to one final applause.
Alastair Cook Career Statistics