England vs India 2018: A fond farewell to Alastair 'Chef' Cook
"15000 Test runs and 50 test centuries are not beyond him." - Sunil Gavaskar
You really are some batsman when you receive such praise from a legend of the game and that too, Sunil Gavaskar.
Right from that stamping test debut where Cook scored a half-century and then a century in the second innings versus India in Nagpur, Alastair Cook has certainly come a long way. Before the start of the 2018 series against India, one would have never thought that another great of the game would be retiring.
An epitome of mental toughness and grit, one would always yearn for those marathon innings from his side (unless you support the opposition) which would involve those signature cuts and pulls. Oh boy, we are going to miss that. England has a huge task of filling these massive shoes.
Opening in England is one big challenge because the ball swings rapidly and by the time it gets old, you already are very tired and this would often mean that you wouldn't be able to convert your hundred into a "daddy one".
Cook was admired for his patience right from the start and that's clearly visible even at the moment. He fulfilled the trust which was placed in him as an opener.
Graham Gooch, when he was the coach of the English side, always urged his batsmen to score daddy hundreds and Cook did certainly deliver.
Presence of Cook in the side was not only as a batsman but also a leader, a leader who was admired by any. In his first 7 tests as a captain, Cook amassed 6 centuries. He found success in India, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Pakistan and the most important, an Ashes victory against the mighty Australians in their own backyard. Cook has 1042 runs in Australia from 10 matches and close to 1200 runs in Asia.
Always dubbed as a test specialist, Cook proved his doubters wrong with his exploits at the limited overs level when he was appointed as the captain post the 2011 World Cup. In his first 5 ODIs as a captain, Cook scored 4 centuries while also leading England to the runners-up trophy in the 2013 Champions Trophy.
Following a few unfavorable results after the Champions Trophy, including a series loss against Sri Lanka even after taking a 2-0 lead in the 7-match series away from home, Cook was replaced as the captain by Eoin Morgan. A string of low scores also meant that it was the end of the road of Cook at the limited overs level. Make no mistake, he continued representing England at the Test level and continued amassing runs.
You'll be always remembered in the heart of us cricket lovers and no big a player can fill your shoes because as they say, form is temporary but class is permanent. A true gentleman of the game is always the toughest one to say goodbye to but unfortunately, it's time to bid goodbye to one such gentleman. Cricket is surely going to miss you and your delightful pulls and cuts Chef. My favorite memory of Cook is his 263 against Pakistan where he batted nearly for 14 hours. Oh boy, that was a marathon knock indeed.
All the best for your life post cricket Chef, we'll be waiting for you in the Comm' Box.