“If Alastair Cook played his cricket for any other country he’d have God-like status,” a cricket-lover from Wormleighton mused today after the England captain posted his 10,000th run in Test cricket. “Isn’t it just the English way to throw stones at a great sportsman rather than treasure him?”
After 128 Tests, Cook has 28 centuries to his name – another England record. Here is a “proper” Test match batsman.
Fair point, I thought.
And some pundits (I’m not sure they should be dignified with the label “experts”) should have felt pretty embarrassed as they lavished praise on Cook, a chap who not so long ago they were busy slaughtering.
It says much about said members of the media that they won’t give two hoots. They move on, yesterday’s hogwash blithely poured down the chute of history and replaced by today’s wave of rhetoric.
And it says much about Cook, this most dignified of men as well as most highly-skilled of batsmen, that he, too, will not give two hoots.
To reach that 10,000-run milestone (only the 12th batsman in world cricket to do it and the first Englishman) no doubt meant less to the captain than the fact that England won the Test to secure a series victory over Sri Lanka with the final match, at Lord’s, still to play. No-one takes greater pride and pleasure in England’s success than the Essex choirboy.
After 128 Tests, Cook has 28 centuries to his name – another England record. Here is a “proper” Test match batsman. A crease-occupier, as the Indian bowlers discovered to spectacular (well, perhaps that’s not quite the word) effect at Edgbaston in 2011.
What a shame that they went into the series so undercooked after such little match-practice
Cook values his wicket in a manner which, at various points in the last two decades, his country has been crying out for. He entirely deserves his place on that illustrious 10,000 Test-run list – Sacchin Tendulkar, Ricky Ponting, Jacques Kallis, Rahul Dravid, Kumar Sangakkara, Brian Lara, Shiv Chanderpaul, Mahela Jayawardene, Allan Border, Steve Waugh, Sunil Gavaskar: now Alastair Cook too. He belongs there.
Still only 31, Cook has plenty of power to add. England are indeed lucky to have him.
While Cook took the plaudits (with a well-justified pink wheelbarrow-full of salt, no doubt) Sri Lanka also deserve praise for their impressive resistance in the second innings at The Riverside. With every day as the series deepens they look more assured and more comfortable in English conditions.
What a shame that they went into the series so undercooked after such little match-practice – just two three-days games at Chelmsford and Leicester. It would be great if space could be found in the ever-congested English summer schedule for the first touring team of the season, who always play a short series of course, to get sufficient acclimatisation time and therefore be properly prepared in time for the first Test rather than the second.