Alastair Cook surpassed Graham Gooch and become England’s leading run scorer in Test matches. The left handed opener who scored 12254 runs in 289 Test innings at an average of 44.89 has announced his retirement from international cricket after the fifth Test against India at the Kia Oval.
It just seems like yesterday that the 21-year-old Cook made his debut in the Test series against India in the year 2006. The stylish opener scored a century on debut and in due course became the 16th Englishman to achieve this feat.
The golden period with the bat continued for Cook and he became the fastest Englishman to score 1500, 2000, 3000, 4000 and 5000 runs. Cook also holds the distinction of becoming the youngest cricketer in the history of the game to score 8000 runs.
But has Cook earned the respect he deserves in return? Who can forget the unceremoniously sacking of Cook from the One Day team captaincy and subsequently the One Day team just two months before the World Cup 2015. The result was that England were knocked out of the World Cup in the group stages itself.
So what makes Cook a special player? A calm, composed, technically equipped Cook is the ideal opener any team strives for. Lack of runs in the 2013-2014 season led to the English media demanding him to be sacked. But 95 runs in the crucial third Test against India at Southampton in 2014 saw him reviving his career and leading England to a 3-1 Test win over India in 2014. But centuries eluded Cook. The drought came to an end after almost 2 years when Cook scored 2 hundreds in 2 Tests in the year 2015. The first was against the West Indies at Barbados and the second against New Zealand at Lord's in the first Test of the English summer.
Cook has always been known to score big runs when it matters the most. Who can forget the Ashes series in 2010-2011 Down Under when Cook scored 766 runs at an average of 127.66 with 3 centuries. Cook’s heroics helped England win the Ashes for the first time since 1986 in Australia.
The last season was a mixed one for Cook. He struggled to score runs against West Indies in the 3 match Test series apart from the double century at Edgbaston which was the saving grace for him. In the subsequent Ashes, he scored another double hundred at Melbourne but failed to reach the 50-mark in the remaining 8 innings.
The 2018 season saw Cook averaging 39 against Pakistan. However Cook has struggled against India in the ongoing series and has averaged just 15.57.
With England struggling to find an opening partner for Cook since the retirement of Strauss with as many as 12 options being tried, it will be very unlikely that England will find another Alastair Cook.
Cook has definitely gone down as one of the greatest batsmen to have played the game in the recent years. He has been a run machine right from the time of making his debut till date Apart from being a world class player, Cook has always known to avoid controversies and is a true gentleman of the game. English cricket is going to miss Cook big time in Test cricket.Published 03 Sep 2018, 18:29 IST