Five golden moments of England’s Captain Cook
ALASTAIR Cook will become England’s most capped Test player today when he leads his team against Bangladesh in the first Test in Chittagong. Here are some of Cook’s career highlights:
The unforgettable debut (March 2006)
Cook made his debut for England during the 2006 tour of India, a surprise call-up after Marcus Trescothick dropped out for personal reasons. The 21-year-old had been on tour in the Caribbean with the England A team but he was thrown straight into the first Test squad in Nagpur, where he scored 60 and then an unbeaten 104 in a sensational debut. Wisden reported that Cook possessed “a compact technique and tremendous temperament” that has stood him in good stead ever since.
Glory down under (Nov-Dec 2010)
Having suffered a whitewash at the hands of the Aussies in the early years of his Test career, Cook was elated as England pulverised their old rival on their home turf during the 2010 Ashes. He began the series by scoring an unbeaten 235 in The Gabba, so often the graveyard of England’s hopes, prompting The Sydney Morning Herald to quip that “Australia have been cooked and served up for supper”. He then hit 148 in the second Test and 189 in the fifth match in Sydney, averaging more than 127 for the series.
The highest score (Aug 2011)
Having totalled just 20 runs in his first four innings, Cook went into the third Test at Edgbaston of the 2011 series against India in need of a big score. To say he delivered is an understatement. His innings of 294 was the highest by an England batsman since Graham Gooch scored a triple century 21 years earlier. Cook hit 33 boundaries during a 773-minute stay at the crease as England crushed India by an innings and 242 runs. The end was agonizing as Cook, needing just one big hit to reach the 300-mark, was caught by Suresh Raina while chasing after an innocuous wide delivery from Ishant Sharma.
Marathon in the Gulf (Oct 2015)
England almost pulled off a dramatic victory on the final day of the first Test against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi with Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow indulging in a slog-fest before bad light intervened. But the stage had been set by Cook in the first innings as he spent an astonishing 835 minutes at the crease as he compiled a painstaking 263 – the third-longest individual innings in Test match history. His formidable powers of concentration left many observers in awe. “It is just an unbelievable will to concentrate for that long,” said England coach Trevor Bayliss. “His powers of concentration are just superb.”
The 10,000-run club (May 2016)
Cook became the first English batsman to score 10,000 Test runs during the second Test against Sri Lanka at The Riverside in Durham, reaching the landmark with a four through mid-wicket off Nuwan Pradeep. At 31 years and 157 days, he was also the youngest, beating the record of India great Sachin Tendulkar who was 31 years and 326 days when he scored his 10,000th Test run. Indian batting great Sunil Gavaskar, who was the first player to breach the 10,000 mark, backed Cook to beat Tendulkar’s record, pointing out that Cook “has age on his side” and that England play more Tests than any other nation.
Captain Alastair Cook greets fans with the Npower trophy after England’s draw with Australia in the fifth Test of the 2013 Ashes series on August 25.