The fact that those words come from a batsman who is considered one of Test cricket ‘s best openers ever seen makes it also worthy of praise. Alastair Cook has learned those lessons to perfection and has seven ratings above 150, including two dual centuries. While his highest record of 294 versus India at Birmingham in 2011 was a marathon knock that highlighted all of his qualities – class, patience, technique, and ability to bat long, his 122 against the same contestant on a rank turner at Mumbai in 2012 elevated him to the league of legends. For any batsman, mainly from England, the toughest Test comes when he goes to Australia or India.
Because of England’s ancient rivalry, and the challenges of England in the spinner-friendly Indian pitches. He began his Test career with a century against India in 2006 and performed on to score centuries in his first appearances against West Indies, Bangladesh, and Pakistan and became the second-youngest player to earn 5,000 test runs after the legendary Sachin Tendulkar. Cook made six centuries in his first 7 Tests as captain, a position that was even more impressive as 6 of those were played in the subcontinent. That’s why he’s been effective in Australia – he’s scored 1042 runs from under ten matches, with four centuries and an average over 65.
His top-of-the-order brilliance helped England win Ashes in Australia in 2011. He scored three centuries in India’s first three tests and was the most significant in England winning India’s 2012 Test series. In both cases, he was the top run-getter and Man of the Game-a fact that speaks for itself. Cook certainly enjoyed a reasonably prosperous 2013 as captain of England, having marshalled his troops at home to an emphatic 3-0 Ashes victory before England ended runners-up in the 2013 Champions Trophy.
As a batsman, he didn’t get a hundred, but his overall contributions were priceless. It was then succeeded by an extensive 263 against Pakistan, like England, in their new fortress, Abu Dhabi almost threatened to derail Pakistan. His squad turned out to be a small consolation that the next two tests and the series were lost. That meant he had added South Africa to his selection overseas, which included India as well.
A comfortable home series win over Sri Lanka followed on from the success against South Africa, but then things went pear-shaped. England managed just a 2-2 series draw at home against Pakistan, but the worst was yet to come. For the first time, they lost a Test in Bangladesh, and a convincing 4-0 demolition in India ‘s hands followed. Cook-the batsman struggled in India and was particularly susceptible to Ravindra Jadeja ‘s left-arm spin-who got him dismissed five times during the series.
At the end of the series, there were calls for him to resign as England’s captaincy, and the body language of Cook suggested that he had enough to lead England. While, admittedly, he struggled at home during the 2017-18 South Africa series, the next series offered him the opportunity to stamp his mark as one of the best Test batsmen in the country. In the series opener against the Windies, Cook scored 243 at Edgbaston, where England crushed the visitors with an innings and 209 runs.
What is your pick for the player of England in all-time Test XI? Do you agree with us?