Alastair Cook a comparision with Sachin Tendulkar
Few cricketers in the modern era have an air of calmness around them, an air of serenity and assurance in the middle. Only a select few have the potential for greatness and realize them. At this stage of his career, Alastair Cook may not yet know it, but he has it in him to become the highest run getter in Test match cricket. Tall claim? Statistics do not lie , and one must take note of this talented southpaw.
Cook was called up to the tour of India in 2006, when regular opener Marcus Trescothick withdrew due to a stress related illness. He replied with a century on debut against India in India, a feat achieved by hardly anybody in the history of the game. A sound start to his Test career ensured he was a regular fixture in the side which had to replace the aging Marcus Trescothick. He was also drafted into the one day squad, and although he had moderate success, he often found himself in and out of the team. Currently, he is captain of the England ODI team, and in this article, only his feats in the Tests arena will be discussed.
So then after a century on debut, things did not turn out to be as rosy as expected as England lost the 2006-07 Ashes 5-0, and although Cook got his first Ashes century at Perth , he finished the series with a paltry average of 27.5. That was his fourth Test hundred before turning 22 and no Englishman had even had 2. After being overlooked for the 2007 World Cup, Cook found form in the subsequent summer. After a lean patch during 2008 and 2009, Cook was back among the runs in the 2010-11 Ashes series where he got a double century and two subsequent centuries, batting for almost 35 hours in the series in their 3-1 truimph.
Now, a look at his statistics reveals that he was the youngest Englishman to reach 1000,2000,3000,4000 and 5000 Test runs. He is also in the best patch of his career right now. It is often said that one must compare batsmen of different eras, but since there is a decent overlap of playing years, a comparison with possibly the greatest batsman in the modern era, Sachin Tendulkar will give a fair indicator of where Cook stands. Currently, Cook is aged 26 and has played 67 Tests. When Sachin had played 67 Tests, he too was 26 years old. A break up of their numbers after every 10 Tests -
|Alastair Cook||Sachin Tendulkar||Alastair Cook||Sachin Tendulkar||Alastair Cook||Sachin Tendulkar|
|After 10 Tests||815||577||3||1||50.94||41.21|
|After 20 Tests||1554||1080||6||4||44.4||37.24|
|After 30 Tests||2244||1958||7||7||42.33||51.52|
|After 40 Tests||3042||2655||8||9||44.07||52.05|
|After 50 Tests||3654||3433||10||11||42.99||49.75|
|After 60 Tests||4364||4339||13||15||43.21||53.57|
|After 67 Tests||5465||5375||18||20||49.68||55.41|
As the numbers suggest, Cook has been ahead in terms of runs scored on all occasions. He has had a prolific run of late, having scored 5 centuries in his last 7 Test matches. His average is also climbing steadily although it is still quite a distance away from Sachin’s. The thing is that well before 67 Tests, everyone knew Tendulkar would be one of the greatest players, cricket has ever seen but one doubts if the same has been felt of Cook. Having said that, this was a comparison of just numbers and a lot of factors such as the quality of tracks round the world and quality of bowling attacks that were around when Tendulkar started out are not factored.
It will be interesting to see in a couple of year’s time whether Cook has continued on the path to greatness or has tapered off. He might get the captaincy of the Test team, which may or maynot affect his batting. But as Cook has showed in the past, he is as resilient as they come. Can he fulfil his potential ? Can he become the highest run getter in Test match cricket or go on to get the highest number of centuries? Age is on his side. Talent also. Only time will tell.