Alastair Cook, the name synonymous with the old-world charm of leaving and defending the ball, was an outlier in the age of limited over superstars. The time where his own country is trying to introduce new formats in lieu of more money, he was the giant holding the longest format together.
Since his debut Test where he scored 104 and 60 at Nagpur, he has amassed 12090 more Test runs to enter the league of batting pantheons. The recent strife with form in between two gigantic doubles tells the story of a man who may have given his all every time he came to the crease.
It is not the way he scored runs which at times looked ugly but it was how he scored them in varied and contrasting conditions around the world. It should be noted that leading England as captain (59 Tests) may have taken a toll on his batting but he still emerged a warrior each time he was out at the crease.
The memorable series win in India and South Africa to go with the Ashes series win are some of most beautiful bittersweet moments from his time as a captain. So here some of the special numbers from his much celebrated and cherished career.
0- No English Batsman has scored more Test runs, Test centuries, captained England in more Tests, faced more balls and has played more consecutive Tests than Alastair Cook.
10- He is joint 10th on the list with Steve Waugh who also had 32 Test centuries to his name.
6th- 4844 runs is the most by an English Captain and 6th most in the history of the sport.
159- The number of consecutive Test matches he has played since the last time he was dropped in his very first series in Mumbai due to a stomach being upset.
44.38- Average in the 153 Tests in which he has opened. The average for other openers in this period was 34.10.
24760- Balls faced by Cook in his career for his 11627 runs as an opener which is the most in that position in this history of the sport
11627- Runs by him while opening the batting, it makes him over 2000 runs clear of second-placed Sunil Gavaskar(9607 runs)
25 Days and 10 Hours- Amount of time spent at the crease by him in absolute terms, or for easier calculation a little over 610 hours.
7728- The number of balls defended by him - most by any batsman in the history of cricket.
5227- The number of balls left alone by him.
ENGLAND: 85 TESTS/ 148 INNINGS/ 13 100'S/ 31 50'S/ 6169 RUNS /AVG:43.75/ HIGHEST:294
AUSTRALIA: 20 TESTS/ 36 INNINGS/ 5 100'S/ 5 50'S/ 1664 RUNS /AVG:48.94/ HIGHEST:244*
BANGLADESH: 4 TESTS/ 8 INNINGS/ 2 100'S/ 1 50'S/ 431 RUNS/AVG:61.57/ HIGHEST:173
INDIA: 13 TESTS/ 26 INNINGS/ 5 100'S/ 4 50'S/ /1235 RUNS/ AVG:51.46/ HIGHEST:190
NEW ZEALAND: 8 TESTS/ 15 INNINGS/ 1 100'S/ 1 50'S/ /116 RUNS/ AVG:27.13/ HIGHEST:116
SOUTH AFRICA: 8 TESTS/ 15 INNINGS/ 1 100'S/ 3 50'S/ 471 RUNS/AVG:31.40/ HIGHEST:118
SRI LANKA: 5 TESTS/ 10 INNINGS/ 1 100'S/ 3 50'S/ 435 RUNS/AVG:48.33/ HIGHEST:118
UAE: 6 TESTS/ 11 INNINGS/ 1 100'S/ 3 50'S/ 609 RUNS/AVG:55.36/ HIGHEST:263
WEST INDIES: 8 TESTS/ 15 INNINGS/ 2 100'S/ 5 50'S/ 652 RUNS/AVG:54.33/ HIGHEST:139*
Subcontinent Record Without A Blemish
The greatest batsmen in the world have traditionally struggled against the slow and low bouncing pitches of the subcontinent.The case in point being Ricky Ponting's dismal record in India where he played 14 Tests and scored 662 runs with 1 century at an average of 26.48.
In fact, his average of 41.98 across the subcontinent is poor by his lofty standards. Alastair Cook, on the other hand, has a tremendous record for a touring batsman and that too for an Englishman, who have historically struggled more than any other team in this part of the world.
When England toured Australia for the Ashes tour of 2010/11, they were in great nick but had the demons of the 2007 tour looming over their heads. Cook at the time was 25 years old and was the vice-captain of the team. He also had the burden of providing good starts as an opener which could lay the groundwork for the middle-order batsman to work on.
It would be an understatement that he provided a good start to that series because he accumulated 450 runs in his first 3 innings of the series across two Test matches. He would add another 316 runs to that tally in 4 more innings to end the series as the highest run-getter.
The series was won and the urn returned to England with Alastair Cook etching his name in history. He had 3 more Ashes series win to go along with it that proved his dogged resistance to searing rockets and ability to blunt the opposition to score runs.
This was never more obvious than when he scored his mammoth 294 runs against India, by batting for over 13 hours.
RECORD IN ASHES: 35 TESTS/ 64 INNINGS/ 5 100's/ 11 50's/ 2493 RUNS/ AVG:40.21/ HIGHEST:244*
He will be set for his well-deserved swansong at the Oval and although his recent form does not allow him to score a fifty let alone a hundred, he will be eyeing the 5th spot in the all-time run-scoring charts if he scores 147 more runs to beat Kumar Sangakkara's 12400 Test runs.
(Statistics from HowStat and CricViz)