India v England, 3rd Test, Kolkata 3rd day

Cook joins England's greats

The records continue to tumble for Alastair Cook during a tour where his standing on the world stage is reaching new levels

George Dobell in Kolkata

December 6, 2012

Comments: 91 | Text size: A | A

Alastair Cook began another major innings, India v England, 3rd Test, Kolkata, 2nd day, December 6, 2012
Alastair Cook bats on and on and on © BCCI
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This was the day that Alastair Cook cemented his place among the greats of the game.

Statistics never tell the whole story, but they do bear repeating: Cook is now the youngest man to reach 7,000 Tests runs in the history of the game; he has scored more Test centuries than any other England player; and, having become the first man to score centuries in each of his first four Tests as captain only a week or so ago, he has now extended that sequence to five. And he does not seem to have expended a drop of sweat in the process.

The tale beyond the statistics is, arguably, more impressive. Cook has produced his three centuries this series, surely the best batting of his career, when his team most required it. Coming into this series, England looked fallible against spin and had been beset by internal unrest. But, by demonstrating that a calm head and occupation of the crease were the best methods of survival during the rout at Ahmedabad, he has instilled a belief into his side that had looked absent a few weeks ago. He is not just on the threshold of greatness. He is sitting with his feet up in his dining room demanding another cup of coffee.

He keeps improving, too. When he first came into the England side, he was regarded, despite a century on debut in Nagpur, as an unconvincing player of spin bowling. He spent many hours working on his game, however, not least against the Merlin spin-bowling machine, and gradually developed a method that worked for him.

His sweeping, once more of a nurdle, now has power and command. His driving, once reserved for the longest of half-volleys and the flattest of pitches, continues to increase in scope and grace and his footwork, once hesitant, now has purpose and confidence. The languid drive through extra-cover off Zaheer Khan and the straight six he skipped down the pitch and drove off R Ashwin, would have pleased David Gower.

He has lost none of his original qualities either: he still has the concentration of a security camera; he still leaves the ball well; he still cuts, pulls and works of his legs efficiently. But he has become, not just obdurate, but challenging for any fielding side to control. He has become a great batsman.

Some will baulk at that description. They will point out, with some justification, that Cook's feat of reaching 7,000 Test runs before his 28th birthday is as much a reflection of the modern fixture schedule as his talent. It is true that while it took Wally Hammond 18 years and 236 days to play the 131 innings he required for the milestone, it took Cook just six years and 279 days.

It is true, too, that Cook does not dominate like Viv Richards, he rarely times the ball like Rahul Dravid and he scarcely plays shots that make a crowd purr with delight like Brian Lara. He does not feel like a great player.

But perhaps feeling should have little to do with it. While batsmen are often judged on aesthetics, to do so disregards many other skills; skills such as resilience, concentration and, most importantly of all, run scoring. Based on those, perhaps more prosaic criteria, Cook has a strong case to be considered a great batsman. His is a classic case of substance prevailing over style.

 
 
While batsmen are often judged on aesthetics, to do so disregards many other skills; skills such as resilience, concentration and, most importantly of all, run scoring. Based on those, perhaps more prosaic criteria, Cook has a strong case to be considered a great batsman
 

Cook's success must also be attributed, in part at least, to England's selectors. Not so long ago, a player enduring the form Cook had in 2010 would have been dropped and, perhaps, never found their way back into the side. He had, after all, failed to pass 30 in eight successive innings and, just as importantly, looked all at sea outside off stump.

But the selectors persevered with him. They trusted in his character and in his work ethic. They trusted him to find a way to work out his problems. He rewarded their patience with a dogged century against Pakistan at The Oval and, since then, has scored 11 centuries in 28 Tests at an average of 68.53. He amassed 766 runs in the Ashes series of 2010-11 - among England batsmen, only Hammond (with 905 in 1928-29) has managed more - and he has now become the first man to score a century in each of his first five Tests as captain. Aged 27, the best should still be ahead of him.

More importantly, he has presented his team with a once-in-a-generation opportunity: the chance to beat India in India. No-one has done that since 2004 and England have not done it since 1984-85. By dismissing India for an under-par total, England gave themselves the opportunity to use the wicket before its anticipated deterioration. And, by taking that opportunity, they will aim to bat just once in this game. There is a long way to go, but the tide in the series has turned and is currently flowing strongly in England's direction.

Perhaps the key difference between these sides, however, is fitness. While England have been able to call on their top players to produce extra efforts when required - the bowling of James Anderson and Monty Panesar on the first day and the batting of Cook, in particular, on the second - India effectively have to nurse half their team through the day.

India's fielding veered between the ambivalent to the awful. It was not just that they dropped a crucial catch - Cook put down on 17 when Cheteshwar Pujara, usually at short-leg, suddenly found himself at slip while Virender Sehwag, the regular slip, found himself at cover - but that England were able to drop and run the ball with an ease that, at times, embarrassed some of the biggest names in Indian cricket.

Shown up for their age and their lack of athleticism, sharp singles became comfortable; long twos were turned into threes and overthrows were donated as the basic disciplines, such as backing up, deserted India. Nor was this an aberration. It was the norm. It wrecked any chance the bowlers had of building pressure and allowed a soft release for the batsmen.

This difference did not just show in the fielding. With the match to be shaped after lunch and Zaheer Khan producing an excellent spell that troubled both batsmen, India could have fought their way back into the game. Instead, MS Dhoni was obliged to rest Zaheer after just three overs and the opportunity slipped away.

A sports psychologist who has worked with players from both teams suggested there may be a cultural issue at play. In England, he reasoned, the emphasis is invariably on work ethic; in India there is a greater onus on rest. Perhaps both teams could learn from aspects of each other's approach, but India surely need to work harder on their fielding.

This is why defeat in this series might not prove to be such a disaster for India. While a side continues to make excuses for setbacks - injuries, unfamiliar conditions, doctored pitches et al. - they are failing to confront the real issues. Being forced into a period of reflection might do no harm.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by JG2704 on (December 9, 2012, 20:54 GMT)

Have to say he's certainly leading by example so far and while this may be a moderate Indian attack as pointed out so vociferously by one poster he has managed to help turn a heavy defeat into a 10 wkt win which takes some character. Of course he's not an all time legend yet but he's certainly looking destined for greatness

Posted by JG2704 on (December 9, 2012, 20:53 GMT)

@Arjya Prakash Dash on (December 07 2012, 11:43 AM GMT) Cook hanging around had nothing to do with sportsmanship. It seemed to me that he was advised to hang on there . You may remember in the last test when one of your players caught Jonny Bairstow illegally after the ball almost lodged in his helmet before coming out into his hands. Had Jonny (and it was his fault for not knowing the rules or whatever) realised this and stood his ground he'd have had the decision reversed. In the modern game often players are asked by the umpires to check for various things before they walk , but well done for nit picking and giving zero credit to Cook . Please publish this time

Posted by RandyOZ on (December 9, 2012, 14:28 GMT)

So we are back to the Pakistan and South Africa series never happening, it appears. England would do well to notice that they have just won a battle of the minnows, with the real top two teams just completed a compelling and much more highly skilled contest in Australia. The real English fans already know this though and are terrified about the upcoming Ashes series.

Posted by TripleCenturian on (December 9, 2012, 9:57 GMT)

I like it when you ask us not to compare Cook with Sachin, Dravid, Ganguly and Laxman.

Surely, you should not be mentioning the latter three in the same category as Sachin who over his career has been streets ahead of Ganguly and Laxman for certain and a lot more pleasing on the eye to watch than Dravid.

I just hope Cook knows when to retire, unlike the Little Master who is well past his sell by date and holding on to a place through sentimentality and adoration rather than form and ability now. Retire on your own terms Sachin while the memories are fond and favourable rather than when it's too late and the memories are of a player in decline. Ponting went on a year too long and ever since Sachin got to 99 international tons he too has gone downhill.

Posted by   on (December 8, 2012, 16:43 GMT)

@Santander - I am sure you don't follow cricket that much. Sehwag makes test cricket more interesting coz he scores at a fast pace while Cook scores at a strike rate of less than 50. Which to my opinion boring. Sehwag is a modern cricketer while cook is from old school. The so called Indian greats scored many hundreds in your land buddy. Azar, Sachin and Ganguly scored againts your greats!What Sachin has achieved probably no one ever in England team can achieve for years to come. Sachin's away records easily trump over Lara, Ponting, Inzamam. He scores with an average of 52 outside subcontinent. Btw I am realy not sure if Cook wil be playing after 5 years from now. He may not cross 10000 runs also. He is yet to be an accomplished batsmen in ODIs. I just wanted to say lets not compare Cook with Sachin, Sehwag and Dravid. They are on top of the table whereas Cook is yet to be in that table.

Posted by rajattiwaari on (December 8, 2012, 6:15 GMT)

I am not a big fan George Dobell's writings, but he has given some really important and true reasons for IND's pathetic performance over the last 18 months or so. This series,this game is not over yet but George is absolutely correct by questioning IND's work ethics.

Posted by legsidewide on (December 8, 2012, 3:34 GMT)

Ah Dobell, still throwing the word "great" around willy-nilly, hoping it will stick somewhere on or around the England team. Wasn't this supposed to be one of the 5 "greatest" sides of all time? What about Broad and Bell? Weren't they estimated to rank amongst the pantheon of the "greats"? And Trott and Swann? In the world of Dobell, just who isn't "great"?

Posted by IsBradmanStillAlive on (December 8, 2012, 1:00 GMT)

@MaruthuDelft - But who went to the ground to watch Sachin bat on Thursday? Maybe 25,000. Only half full, does that mean he is not great as he didnt draw the public to watch? Cook is a great batsmen because of how he compares with every other batsman that's ever played the game. More runs than anyone who's ever played the game by his age, more centuries for England than any batsman ever (regardless of age) and a captain in India teaching India how the game is played. What a hero

Posted by IsBradmanStillAlive on (December 8, 2012, 0:36 GMT)

@Dark_Harlequin I think the reason Freddie is held im such high esteem in the UK is because we don't look at his statistics and make a judgement. We remember his heroic over in 2005 first taking Langer (3rd wicket in 4 balls) and then terrorising Ponting for the rest of the over and sending him back to the pavillion off the 7th ball to swing the ashes back our way. We also remember his 5-for in 2009 at Lords, bowling on one leg to put the Aussies back in place in the series and finally, his slinging arm to decimate the stumps while ponting looked on in horror in the 5th test at the Oval.. The goosebumps still appear thinking about it now. A true legend, not for the stats but for how he made us feel and most importantly, turning up when we needed him most.

Posted by ghaleecha on (December 8, 2012, 0:17 GMT)

Yeah right...Sachin is a god who has participated in possibly 1 or 2 match winning innings in his entire career of 25 years and gazillion of runs. This series alone gives Cook an edge over tendulkar as he has created an opportunity to beat India in India after 28 years. And inidan top order has more runs made on flat pitches in drawn test matches...so real exciting.

Posted by Munkeymomo on (December 7, 2012, 23:07 GMT)

@Santander: So you never enjoyed watching Laxman's beautifully wristly strokeplay, or Dravids determination and flawless defensive technique (my fav of the Indian greats) or Sehwag's raw dominance or Ganguly's passion? That brings us to SRT, a master class in batting. I know the Indian fans can get a bit, oversensitive, when it comes to these guys, but they are some of the best and classiest sportsmen of all time. Cook may well be up there later, he prides sportsmanship and I love seeing that from English players almost more than I like seeing winners. I'd rather lose with grace than win with dirty tactics and I don't care if the Aussies or Saffas don't understand that! (I'm absolutely no way calling them cheats, but that is not their mantra).

Posted by JG2704 on (December 7, 2012, 22:08 GMT)

@Arjya Prakash Dash on (December 07 2012, 11:43 AM GMT) Cook hanging around had nothing to do with sportsmanship. It seemed to me that he was advised to hang on there . You may remember in the last test when one of your players caught Jonny Bairstow illegally after the ball almost lodged in his helmet before coming out into his hands. Had Jonny (and it was his fault for not knowing the rules or whatever) realised this and stood his ground he'd have had the decision reversed. In the modern game often players are asked by the umpires to check for various things before they walk , but well done for nit picking and giving zero credit to Cook

Posted by JG2704 on (December 7, 2012, 22:07 GMT)

Have to say he's certainly leading by example so far and while this may be a moderate Indian attack as pointed out so vociferously by one poster he has managed to help turn a heavy defeat into a 10 wkt win which takes some character. Of course he's not an all time legend yet but he's certainly looking destined for greatness

Posted by JG2704 on (December 7, 2012, 22:07 GMT)

@jb633 on (December 07 2012, 10:58 AM GMT) Well constructed post although you and I know it's probably a waste of time trying to explain to someone who never gives any of our players any credit and thinks he's clever being that way

Posted by   on (December 7, 2012, 20:50 GMT)

@Santander, you make me laugh. Learn to respect the game and everyone who plays it. Stop throwing ridiculous assumptions and accusations around. And just out of interest, who do YOU support?

Posted by Shan156 on (December 7, 2012, 20:00 GMT)

@Arjya Prakash Dash, are you for real? It is too early to compare Cook to Sachin or Dravid, agreed? But, why not compare records of Sehwag and Laxman? Cook has ~1,500 runs less than them but he has played 15 tests less than Sehwag and 50 tests less than Laxman. But, he is still a veteran in his own right having played 80+ tests already and scoring 7,000 test runs. Granted Laxman is a middle-order bat and hence he is bound to have scored less runs/centuries than an opening bat but Cook's records are there for all to see - he has the same average as Sehwag and more than Laxman. He has the same # of centuries as Sehwag having played less tests. He has played his own back-to-the-wall innings several times and has helped his team win tests. You may not think big of him because he is not Indian but the numbers would clearly say that, in test matches, he is as good as, if not better than, Sehwag and Laxman statistically. Their styles are different. So, in that way, it is hard to compare them.

Posted by Shan156 on (December 7, 2012, 19:55 GMT)

@Arjya Prakash Dash, Cook was waiting because he was asked by the on-field umpire to wait. It would be disrespectful if he chose to leave. Sachin or Dravid may be greats but they still have to respect the umpire because the game is greater than the individual. My guess is they would have stayed too had the umpire asked them to.

Posted by   on (December 7, 2012, 19:34 GMT)

Up until last year I was an Indian supporter but they have failed one too many times now. It isn't just that they've lost loads of test matches it is their attitude. Quite franly their attitude reaks of fecklessness. They lack the fight to be a real threat and this is displayed in their batting, bowling and fielding. Someone mentioned earlier that the "Indian greats" have scored more than 7000 runs each yet I will point out that the majority of these runs have come on home turf which up until recently have been placid, dry wickets. The Indian batsman such as Sehwag, Gambhir and Yuvraj have inflated averages due to this proclivity to batting at home. I will emphatically state that the only world class batsman that India have had was Dravid. SRT used to be very good but he's seriously gone down hill over the last 2 years.

Posted by Mitch1066 on (December 7, 2012, 17:08 GMT)

England day three on top I truly believe now India only have draw to bat for as they have bat for two hundred before even ahead so plus with wicket be getting spin friendly and reserve swing so advantage England . Indian greats are gon time to move on . Why do you have in trench with such comments . Cook is quality player up with Amla chanderpaul and Clarke respectfully

Posted by peter56 on (December 7, 2012, 16:47 GMT)

Santander Get your facts right! Tendulkar HAS A MUCH BETTER RECORD AWAYfrom India than he does in India .more runs 8705 away 6933 home more centuries 29 away 22 home and a better average away than he does at home

Posted by Rohan-Lalpudha on (December 7, 2012, 16:20 GMT)

us Indians need to stop being delusional and acknowledge that we are better than only Bangladesh at the moment. Our bowling is arguably the worst amont the test plaing nations (yes, im including bangladesh as well) and even Pakistan have a better batting line up. We need to follow the route that pakistan are taking in blooding in the youth. Tendulkar is WAYYYY beyond his sell by date, Dhoni is a poor all rounder, sehvag is VERY inconsistent and Kohli is confused. we need to only retain ashwin, kohli, ojha, and pukara. get rid of the rest. Oh where are the Dravids and the Laxmans of this generation?

Posted by Rohan-Lalpudha on (December 7, 2012, 16:20 GMT)

us Indians need to stop being delusional and acknowledge that we are better than only Bangladesh at the moment. Our bowling is arguably the worst amont the test plaing nations (yes, im including bangladesh as well) and even Pakistan have a better batting line up. We need to follow the route that pakistan are taking in blooding in the youth. Tendulkar is WAYYYY beyond his sell by date, Dhoni is a poor all rounder, sehvag is VERY inconsistent and Kohli is confused. we need to only retain ashwin, kohli, ojha, and pukara. get rid of the rest. Oh where are the Dravids and the Laxmans of this generation?

Posted by nursery_ender on (December 7, 2012, 16:06 GMT)

Quote (11:43, 7 December): "Don't compare Cook with Sachin". Why not? He's reached 7000 runs at a significantly younger age, having started his career at a significantly older age. Seems like a good basis for a comparison.

Posted by   on (December 7, 2012, 15:01 GMT)

Cook not a great? He's now the youngest players to pass 7000 Test runs, beating SRT by 6 months!!

Posted by Harlequin. on (December 7, 2012, 14:17 GMT)

@Shiraz Habib - fair enough! r.e. Flintoff, I can see why he wasn't regarded as great by non-Brits: his stats just didn't back it up. But for some reason I can't explain why, he was great in our eyes! Cookie will be great though, no doubt in my mind, so much so that my big sister (whose surname is now Cook) named her first son Alistair!!

Posted by R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (December 7, 2012, 13:39 GMT)

Single figure for Bell again... juggernaut Cook continues... Pietersen going for one too many yahoo's again... Thank God Compton and Trott got some good runs or this game would've looked so boringly predictable again. Ojha has been the standout Indian bowler so far. Great stuff by England... now keep going and don't choke!

Posted by   on (December 7, 2012, 13:04 GMT)

@Dark_Harlequin: Hey man, thanks for your message. My point wasn't about praise -- that's one thing. My point was about greatness -- that's another thing.

Posted by Hammond on (December 7, 2012, 12:46 GMT)

Just a question, why does "an English great" not also be a "great of the game"? Do the English play a different sport?

Posted by   on (December 7, 2012, 12:44 GMT)

What a great performance by the English team in India.To my observation, Indian team is same like that of previous tea but the players performance is not upto the mark. The reason is that English team read about the weakness of Indian team and found the way to attack the Indians in every corner like bowling, fielding and batting. To me it is going to be the same that we lost our crown in Hockey as the Western hockey team learn the trick of trade and adopt a new strategy and make us nowhere in the world Hockey. So now your BCCI realize this issue and find some one to lead the team in the direction of new technique to achieve the success. Let us not cry for the retirement of Senior players like Tandulkar and use his services to rebuild the side

Posted by Santander on (December 7, 2012, 12:42 GMT)

The so called indian greats have scored most of their runs on home soil. What are their statistics on overseas tours in particular England & Australia ? Sehwag is just somebody who slogs. His technique is poor particularly against the moving ball who are you kidding when you say they made test cricket interesting To me they have been boring batsmen to watch you are obviously an india supporter so you would speak highly of them Too much money and fame at home has spoilt them No pride in representing India The strutabout the grounds as if they are bollywood stars They should devote more time to improving their fitness

Posted by   on (December 7, 2012, 12:42 GMT)

Lets be sportive. I was surprised to see Cook waiting for the third umpire's decision while he shold have walked back to the pavilion. A man is known for his character and not by his achievements. I am sure if it where Sachin or Dravid they would have walked back without waiting for the third umpire to declare them out.

Posted by bumsonseats on (December 7, 2012, 12:36 GMT)

dont compare him as a great. he has another decade yet to play, and he will get there. to say he would not pack a stadium is correct. but if he was indian he would be classed as a great in waiting.

Posted by   on (December 7, 2012, 11:43 GMT)

Cook has not reached the heights of Sehwag yet. Way to go before he is compared with Sachin, Dravid, Ganguly and Laxman. Indian team had the most number of batsmen who made 7000runs. Don't compare Cook with Sachin. Sachin is a god who made cricket more interesting and spectacular. The current Indian team's top 4 batsmen have scored more runs than the entire English squad. I am sure Cook's batting motivates Gambhir and Sehwag to come back spirited in the second innings.

Posted by Unifex on (December 7, 2012, 11:32 GMT)

India don't seem to have learnt a lot about athleticism and fitness from getting flogged 0-8 overseas, particularly given the head-in-the-sand, "come and play in our back yard and we'll show you" attitude they exhibited in England and Australia - but getting beaten at home, which is totally on the cards, just might.

Posted by   on (December 7, 2012, 11:26 GMT)

Whilst the BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket Internationally) continues to give away free test match caps (Tendulkar, Khan, Kholi) to players who are 'big names', is it any wonder that the guys in their team are so matter-of-fact about the game and what it takes to win. Can we put in a petition to play this lot home and away every year?

Posted by   on (December 7, 2012, 11:00 GMT)

Astounding group of performances by Cook. He's certainly up there with the great England walls - Gooch comes to mind. Amazingly, he may reach 1000 runs on another tour overseas, the second time in three years. He blitzed 1000 runs on tour in Australia (inc FC) and is now moving close again in India (765 runs, with three innings left). It is almost impossible nowadays with such short tours to reach that sum.

The second question of whether he would fill a stadium, the answer is NO. He lacks that level of class that Warne, Lara and Tendulkar had. But that is no slight on Cook. He is a product of the modern England!

Posted by jb633 on (December 7, 2012, 10:58 GMT)

@Surlycynic- to be fair every player will have series in which they struggle. ABD had a poor tour of England but we all know that he is a world beater. Against Pakistan I agree that he had bigger problems but I feel that it was that series that forced him to work on his game against spin. Cook is not the same player he was 12 months ago. Against spin he has broadened his range of shots and found a safe method of defending. He is a great player but I agree up till now he had an average 2012. And for all of you slating India, look at their home record. If it was so easy to make runs there why are teams not beating them left right and centre. At the end of the day what Cook is doing to India in their own backyard is remarkable. No batsmen since Matty Hayden has been so consistent there. Should we say Greame Smith is average because of his hoodoo of Zaheer Khan? Or Sachin Tendulkar not a great because of two bad series. Brian Lara average because of a poor tour of England in 00?

Posted by Mikecricket on (December 7, 2012, 10:32 GMT)

What a legend! well done Cook you are batting great.

Posted by mixters on (December 7, 2012, 9:54 GMT)

Cook has played test cricket for 6 years yes? thats 7000 runs in 6 years if he plays on till lets say 39 like some other player in this current test series then at this rate he will amass 21000 test runs HMMMM thats quite alot of test runs Sachin who?

Posted by   on (December 7, 2012, 9:03 GMT)

After all , its Englishmen who taught us Cricket! :P

Posted by Harlequin. on (December 7, 2012, 9:00 GMT)

@Shiraz Habib - if you look though, we don't just do it for our own players. The Brits were full of praise for Pujara at the start of this series, Philander after just 10 tests, Mohammed Amir before his...ahem.., Kallis, Watson, Gayle, Clarke, Bond, the list of cricketers that the Brits (press in particular) seem to praise in vast and not just limited to our own. We have a reputation for being sardonic (one I quite like!), but we are not averse to heaping praise on those who deserve it.

Posted by PhaniBhaskar24 on (December 7, 2012, 8:13 GMT)

Cook -27 has made highest centuries than any English batsmen..thats a worthy record..am sure, people don't go to stadium to watch him bat..may be not now..but am sure with his confidence growing, he can be a crowd puller one day. Remeber, Dravid- at his earlier stages played too much of defensive cricket even in ODI..but his record at the end of his days says he is one of the greats..well done Cook...you may be on your way to create history which will be cherised for generations - beating india in india - (A Indian Cricket fan)

Posted by   on (December 7, 2012, 8:11 GMT)

very nice batting well done cook very good bating

Posted by RednWhiteArmy on (December 7, 2012, 7:12 GMT)

Definately one of the great. end of discussion.

Posted by   on (December 7, 2012, 6:43 GMT)

May be it is too early to judge him as "GREAT", he is definitely playing better than the great players in the Indian batting line-up...........

Posted by hiDhaval on (December 7, 2012, 6:38 GMT)

I think we shouldnt be using the term 'great' so liberally. Cook is doing fantastic since past few series... but he still has good way to go to be put along-side others, whom I term as great Test batsmen - Steve Wagh, Ponting, Dravid, Lara, Kallis and likes.

But lets give him and the English team all the due credit for coming to India and dominating the series now like I have never seen in past from any touring teams.

Good Luck to them.

Posted by sunnu308 on (December 7, 2012, 5:54 GMT)

Ya cook is boring, not attractive etc this clearly shows the comments were posted by people who grew watching ODI's. Cook is pleasure to watch he reminds me more of classic test players.

Posted by anver777 on (December 7, 2012, 5:50 GMT)

At 28 Cook is going great guns.... hopefully he will play another 8-10 years cricket, so expect few more new records in future !!!!!

Posted by BoonBoom on (December 7, 2012, 5:36 GMT)

Cook is just 27. In few testes time, he will topple all bytting records and SRT will be completely forgotten. Surely Cook is THE GREATEST batsman in the history of cricket.

Posted by MaruthuDelft on (December 7, 2012, 3:48 GMT)

Cook won't qualify to be a great. Cook ticks the box for runs but it is important to be attractive in cricket. Just like Steve Waugh was not great Cook won't be great. Who would go to the stadium just to see Cook batting?

Posted by Hardy1 on (December 7, 2012, 2:26 GMT)

An England great, yes, but a great of the game he cannot be called yet. Recent players who have more runs than him: Tendulkar, Ponting, Dravid, Kallis, Lara, Jayawardene, Sangakkara, Hayden, Smith, Langer & Pietersen. Not to mention he has yet to consistently produce in ODIs over a long period of time like many of the aforementioned. I don't know about you but I feel the word 'great' should be valued quite highly and considering I just gave a list of 10+ batsmen who all played (Lara aside) when he was playing and have more runs than him, I don't feel Cook can be called great *yet*.

Posted by cloudmess on (December 6, 2012, 23:58 GMT)

Cook may not be the most aesthetically pleasing player, but he obviously has talent, and can score very quickly when he chooses (see his recent one-day record). Great players do not have to be aesthetically pleasing. I was going to say that Cook is from the Geoff Boycott hard-graft school of greatness, but a better comparison is probably to look back well before Boycott - to Jack Hobbs' celebrated opening partner - Herbert Sutcliffe. Sutcliffe, less gifted than Hobbs, often lived in the shade of the master - and yet he was every bit as effective at making the big scores when they really counted. He ended up averaging 60 in test cricket to Hobbs' 56.

Posted by   on (December 6, 2012, 23:38 GMT)

I would not call him a great just yet, but Cook is well on the way. His captaincy is yet to be tested properly, but the ability is there, and he can lead from the front. His batting has that feel of solidity that I used to get when I watched Dravid at the crease, it is surprising when he fails now, a nice change from the years of suffering for England fans when ignominious defeat was the norm.

Posted by Cricket_Fan_And_Analyst on (December 6, 2012, 23:28 GMT)

Great compiler of runs. I usually switch off my TV when he bats , because his batting style is so boring and my team fails to dislodge him.

Posted by   on (December 6, 2012, 22:36 GMT)

I think ...luck on which dhoni drived the car has vanished..........Young guns...Young guns..now take them and loose the test 1-3.......

Posted by   on (December 6, 2012, 21:59 GMT)

Cook may not be the easiest on the eye, but that doesn't stop you being a great player (exhibit 1: JH Kallis). There's no one playing at the moment you'd rather have opening the batting. He will almost certainly set a new England test run scoring record (probably the first Englishman to 10,000 test runs), and may even challenge the records of Dravid, Ponting, and even Tendulkar, if he carries on like this.

Posted by   on (December 6, 2012, 21:59 GMT)

Clifford Adams - appreciate your regard for Cook's parents! Yes, this boy will go on to make a lot of people proud. Runs with grace (no pun(s) intended!). He is the first cricket captain that I have seen in a long time who takes the trouble to SHAVE on a work day. As for his lack of style, I dare say that what C. B. Fry said of Victor Trumper would apply to Cook as well.

Posted by Herbet on (December 6, 2012, 21:21 GMT)

"Dhoni was obliged to rest Zaheer after just three overs".

He shouldn't be in the team then.

Posted by   on (December 6, 2012, 21:17 GMT)

Well, well. Leave it to the Brits to make a mold hill into and English mountain. It's just like they did with Flintoff. Look, no doubt Cook is having a great run of form since he became captain. And I'm very glad for him, really. And congratulations to England on being the best test team right now. But the English are so eager to blow their own trumpets that whenever they do it, everyone ignores them cause it's like the guy who cries wolf.

Posted by   on (December 6, 2012, 21:05 GMT)

Will become one of the best batsmen for tests and odi's. Gary Sobers always praises him!

Posted by slasaus on (December 6, 2012, 20:19 GMT)

Mickey 76, the NZ bowlers seems to have done alright in Sri Lanka and conditions suits swing. That will be a different ballgame for Cook. Def expect aq few low scores from him, prob due to a few jaffers ;)

Posted by emmwill on (December 6, 2012, 20:15 GMT)

I do not think that Cook is a great player as yet. I am always reluctant to label a cricketer as "great" before that person retires when we are able to put things into better perspective. I would say that he is "potentially great" or on his way to greatness. @subbass "No other player can concentrate as hard as he can"- I do not agree with you. I think among the other current players Chanderpaul has equally great powers of concentration as well; that is one of the reasons why he is currently the number 1 ranked batsman in the world at the moment. Both of them will most likely be adjudged as great players at the end of their careers.

Posted by slasaus on (December 6, 2012, 20:15 GMT)

Excellent article! The English got eye for detail, the Indians not. Notice how they geared up Finn as nightwatchman. They reckon Anderson, the best of the two quickies in the first innings (mind u i think Finn may become a great bowler for England) can just take another day off coz he prob dont even need to bat. Moreover, why should u risk injuring him while batting.

"When he first came into the England side, he was regarded, despite a century on debut in Nagpur, as an unconvincing player of spin bowling. "

They should have thought: Ok so this young bloke cant play spin but still scores a century in India, hmm he may be a great batsman.

On another site i read a guy telling that what amazes him is that Cook seems to have so much time when he was a young batsman. He must obviously be spot on! You rarely see Cook getting hit. You rarely see him making a mistake pulling or hooking. The ball never really seems to hurry him that much if u compare it to his batting partners.

Posted by   on (December 6, 2012, 19:14 GMT)

People need to realise that the speculations that Cook will score more runs than Tenulkar is just a guess. They giving their opinions. It doesn't mean it will actually happen (It might... Hes scoring a lot of runs/has done in the last 2-3 years). Speculations are just speculations. Relax!

Posted by Cpt.Meanster on (December 6, 2012, 19:00 GMT)

Cook is one of those guys you will always love. He's friendly, quiet, and a soft guy. There is no arrogance about him. He just goes on with his job. Him fielding at silly point in spite of being the captain goes to show he's a humble person and a team oriented man. A leader is defined by how he conducts himself among his peers. Cook feels he's a part of England team instead of thinking he IS the England team's captain. There is a difference there. MS Dhoni, a cool captain himself still has a lot to learn from young Cook, and that's not only how to bat properly in test matches but in addressing self denial and pathetic excuses loss after loss.

Posted by Dhanno on (December 6, 2012, 18:21 GMT)

@ Shahky, well this is good time for my fellow indians to go hide under the rock, maybe they will come out for Australia series, again claiming 4-0 drubbing !!

In any case, I had time and again mentioned that indian slow bowlers are in no way same class as Rehman/ Ajmal or even part-timers from Lanka/Pakistan. But what I have enjoyed most for last couple years is to get gliimpses of players like Azhar Ali and couple others (I forget the names) who have been playing the kind of patient test innings that we had to come to see from Dravid/ VVS etc. There was time this job was Younis/ Yousuf's but I am glad to see younger players from pakistan still in that mould. Its a pleasure to watch some of the pakistani test series as these batsmen dont get much mention from anywhere else.

Well We just sit here extolling the greatest batting find in last decade - namely kohli/ raina/ Sharma!

Posted by Dhanno on (December 6, 2012, 18:12 GMT)

Oh Dobell, thanks for last 6 paras. Well India does not need to work harder on fielding. It will not be enough, as what is needed is preparing one for Test match rigor. Coming out of ODI and T20 mentality where few warm up drills are enough to take you through the day and the nights (yes the IPL gala parties are imp and need some preparation on one's part!).

This team would need training camps, bowling duties for 20 overs, slip practices for half day and just block block block for Kohli/ Sehwag/ Yuvi/ Gambhir for 30 overs. Every single shot that makes it past the 30 yard circle should be followed by a whip.

But for now, it is just the pitches/ natural game/ young team/ time needed to gel and other

Posted by rayfanatics on (December 6, 2012, 18:07 GMT)

@Sinhaya, this article has nothing to do with Tendulkar. And since Sangakkara and Mahela are fading, you are hoping someone else breaks Tendulkar's numbers. What a lovely mindset!

Cook is great no doubt, but in front of quality bowling (yes I mean Pakistan and South Africa) he has yet to prove himself. Australia were just a shadow of themselves. So despite his tremendous powers of concentration, there is work to be done.

Posted by   on (December 6, 2012, 17:37 GMT)

Whether Cook is a great of the game, I don't know. However, I firmly believe that he will become a great of the English game. I also believe that if managed correctly, that he may go on to captain almost as long as Grahame Smith for instance. Because he doesn't sweat and tire out too much from batting, his captaincy should be ok, and he shouldn't get knackered. I mean he's spent years fighting his technique ball after ball. Things must be easier now. Cook, I salute you, your ethic for scoring runs, and your complete dedication to not taking the limelight, not wanting suddenly to be a celebrity, and just being normal: something that endears you to the everyday sports lover.

Posted by   on (December 6, 2012, 17:37 GMT)

I think that there are too many fractions within the Indian team... Otherwise how would you explain collective team failure in last 10 tests out of 12 ? Opposition batters and bowlers put up a better show on the same pitch where Indians manage t unearth demons. Are there too many camps ? Dhoni Camp? Sehwag Camp? Gambhir Camp?

If such is the case, why not go for a wholesale change of the team ?

Posted by YorkshirePudding on (December 6, 2012, 17:36 GMT)

Well done Cook, since the Ashes 2010/11 it was a case of whether Cook or KP would get the record first, its good to see that there may be some competition between the two to get the most centuries over the next few years as well as breaking records. To put this in context looking at the top list of 19 players with more than 23 hundreds onyl 6 are still playing, 6 have recently retired (last 10 years).

Posted by SurlyCynic on (December 6, 2012, 17:35 GMT)

5 hundreds in 5 tests as Captain? Well done, great achievement. Who were they against? Well, er, Bangladesh and the weakest Indian attack in decades. Oh.... hmmmmm.

Posted by aurorion on (December 6, 2012, 17:19 GMT)

Cook is definitely a great player, and he is in the form of his life. However, any talk of him overtaking Tendulkar in runs or centuries is very premature. I remember that in the mid-2000s, when Ponting was in the best form of his career everyone was predicting that he would soon overtake Tendulkar in every Test record. However, it turned out that his performance dipped a few years later and look where he has ended up: surely as a very successful player, but not quite close to Tendulkar. People should remember that it is extremely difficult for any player to keep on playing playing at a very high level for a long time. Tendulkar is an exception among all players to have played this game not because he has been exceptional for short periods, but because he has been very good for 23 years. It is not easy to emulate that, as Ponting found out. So, it may be easy to predict that Cook will overtake Tandulkar by extrapolating his current form for 10 more years: but it is not as easy as that.

Posted by subbass on (December 6, 2012, 16:52 GMT)

I considered Cook a great after that amazing Ashes tour. His biggest asset ? His God like concentration. No other player can concentrate as hard as he can and he has more than enough shots. On top of that he is extremely level headed and a thoroughly decent chap. Hats off to cookie ! India have it all to do to save this game now, only early wickets can save them, but if KP gets in that spells even greater trouble for them.

Posted by Dhanno on (December 6, 2012, 16:21 GMT)

Kudos to Cook, he was one of my marked man for this series. He looks composed and rarely gets flustered as well we saw in last Ashes. I am not sure even with better spinners/ fast bowlers India would have troubled him lot. Maybe troubled but I believe he would have enjoyed such challenge as well.

Also thanks Dobell for that last paragraph. Refreshingly someone is acknowledging that all that India has come up with for last year is excuses and some more. It doesnt end with Captain/ players (kohli/ Gambhir asking for turning pitches in middle of series thumping being administered in england/ australia), coaches, administrators but also from most of the commentators in india who believe it is just a matter of nice spin friendly pitches and India would roar again.

Posted by SHAHKY on (December 6, 2012, 16:11 GMT)

he is a almost there too b judged as great but most i am laughing at indian friends, just a fornight ago all were arrogantly shouting revenge and a 4-0- nill drubbing on bases of what pakistan did to english team and in sri lanka too they struggled bit but what a team this England is i think now indian friends should stop behaving like bratt child and they should not act like USA do with rest of the world, these indian friends should understand their true value and position ...i just feel sorry for them and wishing best of the bestets luck for english team for rest of the tour...england win or loose they have dentented and thrashed indian egos and shown them their true faces

Posted by mikey76 on (December 6, 2012, 16:05 GMT)

No reason why Cook can't make it test match hundred number 24 and six in a row in Nagpur. Eng then have five tests against NZ which is a huge opportunity against a weak attack then it's his old favorited the Aussies! Could be a bumper 2013 for captain Cook.

Posted by   on (December 6, 2012, 16:05 GMT)

Losing a 4 test series at home would be a disaster, and if that happens, heads should roll

Posted by   on (December 6, 2012, 15:57 GMT)

Congratulations Alistair Cook. Tremendous! Wish you many more. Great to have met your parents, siitting in front of us in the Presidents Pavilion at Newlands, when you played at Newlands.

Posted by   on (December 6, 2012, 15:57 GMT)

great player guyzzzzzzzz

Posted by Xolile on (December 6, 2012, 15:46 GMT)

I would have Cook, Smith and Hobbs fighting for the opening spots in my all-time XI.

Posted by kevnssuresh on (December 6, 2012, 15:42 GMT)

Cook has been playing amazingly well, no doubt about it. But India doesn't really have an attacking spinner in the squad right now, Ashwin is there but he is not able to turn the ball much like he used to in the past may be due to heavy work load in all different formats and IPL. That definitely something that India needs to address. Also its Dhon's captaincy also, he has been doing good but you never really ask publicly that you need rank turners, that set the tone and English players mentally prepared for rank turners.Also his field settings are not that great, and not attacking. He should be using Viru more often, when started Viru his career, he was so called Delhi allrounder. I still remembered Dada used Viru on several occassions, but Dhoni doesn't use him much except his buddies Ashwin, Raina. He is not using Yuvi effectively in Test matches. I think India need to fill in with Chavla who can bat or Amit to add more veriety. This mite not be great move but adds some veriety

Posted by Sinhaya on (December 6, 2012, 15:42 GMT)

Come on Cook! Since you are the youngest to reach 7000 test runs, you can by all means break Tendulkar's record. I am sure you can do it as you are the real run machine today. Congratulations and hope you get better and better.

Posted by unbiasedfan on (December 6, 2012, 14:58 GMT)

Reflection! - in Indian cricket. You must be kidding. Actually rather than throw all blame on the usual suspects (BCCI, IPL and the players) the real blame lies at the feet of the mindless Indian cricket fan who can take limitless mediocrity from the players and still find limitless enthusiasm for them. Note the enthusiasm is for players and unfortunately not for the game and that is the sad tale of cricket and cricket fans in India.

Posted by Nutcutlet on (December 6, 2012, 14:55 GMT)

Spot on, George! Cook has joined an elite band, the very greatest of England opening bats: Hobbs, Sutcliffe, Hutton & even Boycott ( although he's easily ahead of GB in my book!): august company indeed! As for India, I maintain that a major part in their decline is the cumulative effect of five seasons of IPL. Let's be brutally honest. IPL is a commercial enterprise. There is little quality play & even such quality that there is depends on overseas stars (mercenaries), some retired from fc. The skills required for T20 are very much at odds with the disciplines & stamina that are required by Test cricketers. India cannot take extract much NATIONAL pride from the IPL. It's whipped-up, slickly marketed, glitzy, immensely profitable for all concerned, & attempts to engender a sort of regional tribalism much like English Football clubs, but a training for Test cricket is assuredly is not. India (the BCCI) must decide what it wants as its priority, but I fear it's already made its choice.

Posted by   on (December 6, 2012, 14:53 GMT)

Still he is 27. 7000 runs in 6 year cricketing career. more to come. wish u all the best.

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge on (December 6, 2012, 14:46 GMT)

Cook - Undoubtedly the world's best opening batsmen, who would walk into any team in the world (Just think how much the Aussies would pay to have him!). But has he done enough to be considered the greatest? Time will tell.

Posted by   on (December 6, 2012, 14:41 GMT)

cook is very great player of england

Posted by A_Vacant_Slip on (December 6, 2012, 14:37 GMT)

We are witnessing greatness. Does not matter where you put Alistair Cook - India, Australia, South Africa, West Indies, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, any place - he will score run for you there. He is run machine. AND he will be in game for another 10 year so get used to him you will see a lot more where this came from. Fantastic player!

Posted by SurlyCynic on (December 6, 2012, 14:30 GMT)

Cook is a good player. But before hailing him as a 'great of a game' it's worth considering some of his recent stats in tests. What did he average in the home series against SA? 32.5. Against Pakistan last year? 26.5. Sure, he's bullying the Indian attack which is not the best Indian attack in recent years, but doesn't he have to perform against quality attacks to be labelled a 'great'?

Posted by   on (December 6, 2012, 14:29 GMT)

I so wish he continues and breaks Sachins records...maybe Sachin can keep playing till cook retires....

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