England in India 2012-13

Gooch predicts Cook's best still to come

George Dobell

December 10, 2012

Comments: 86 | Text size: A | A

Alastair Cook batted fluently and scored 97, Haryana v England XI, 1st day, Ahmedabad, November 8, 2012
Graham Gooch thinks the best time in a player's career is between 27 and 35 when they know their game well © Getty Images

As if the last couple of weeks have not contained enough bad news for India, Graham Gooch had a little more for them: as far as Gooch is concerned, the best of Alastair Cook is yet to come.

Cook's batting has been one of the major differences between the teams this series. In three Tests, he has contributed three centuries and his tally of runs - 548 at an average of 109.60 - is more than Sachin Tendulkar, MS Dhoni, Gautam Gambhir and Yuvraj Singh combined.

But Gooch feels Cook, who will be 28 on Christmas Day, has not yet reached his peak and will inevitably break Gooch's own record as England's top run-scorer in Test cricket. Gooch scored 8,900 Test runs, while Cook currently has 7,103. Only Kevin Pietersen, of current England players, has more with 7,335.

"In my opinion," Gooch said, "the years between 27 to 35 are the best years for a batsman because you have honed your knowledge and you know your game. I think he's got his best years in front of him. He's got to stay fit and motivated but nothing at the moment would suggest to me that that won't happen. I hope to hang on in this job until he goes past my record."

Few know Cook as a cricketer as well as Gooch. Not only do the pair of them, as Essex and England opening batsmen and captain, have much in common, but Gooch was the batting coach at Essex as Cook was developing and now performs the same role with England. He has watched Cook at close quarters throughout his career and, while Gooch admits Cook has never been the most eye-catching player, the skills that have served him so well at the top level were apparent very early.

"Alastair was on the Essex Academy and it was pretty obvious he was going to be a good player," Gooch said. "I can't remember the first time I saw him but I do remember him keeping wicket and batting for our Board XI against Essex in a proper match."

That match was a Cheltenham and Gloucester Trophy game from 2003. Cook, opening the batting and keeping wicket for Essex Cricket Board against Essex, only scored 27 in the match, but his maturity stuck in Gooch's mind.

"He tends to get on the front foot now a bit more later in his innings and he plays a very resolute game outside off stump. He's worked very hard over the years." Graham Gooch on how Cook's technique has developed

"My early memories of him as a person were that he was very mature for his age and very balanced and considered. He went about his cricket in a methodical sort of way and you can still see that now. The priceless ability he had when he was young, and again you can see this now, is that he knows exactly what he can and can't do. He puts that in place and into practice and doesn't step outside that.

"You know the old saying? It's not how, it's how many. He knows the way to play. Often young players coming up have talent and ability to strike the ball but they don't quite know how to manage their ability. Sometimes it dawns on them later in life and sometimes it doesn't dawn on them at all but this lad had it from the beginning. He knew how he could operate.

"He applies a certain type of game in Test cricket that works. When he came into the one-day side a lot of people said he didn't have the game for it but smart players find a way. And he plays a different sort of game in one-day cricket. He's not a power player but he keeps it moving and his runs-per-balls ratio is very good. That shows the skill of the man in being able to adapt.

"He tends to get on the front foot now a bit more later in his innings and he plays a very resolute game outside off stump. He's worked very hard over the years. He practices the sweep and hitting the ball over the top and it's good to see him showing confidence in selective sweeping against the turning ball. He's had success with that and also has the confidence to use his feet and come down the wicket. He's starting to enhance his game.

"Maybe he's thinking back to the Pakistan series in 2010 when he had a bit of a nightmare and thinking 'I'm going to get every run I can now because it's working for me'. I'm in good form and I'll cash in."

Gooch is also impressed by Cook's leadership since being appointed Test captain. Not only has Cook set a record - centuries in each of his first five Tests as captain - but has led England to a 2-1 series lead in conditions in which many expected them to struggle.

"Captaincy has enhanced his run scoring already," Gooch said. "It's difficult to look into a crystal ball and say whether it will affect him down the line but all the opportunities are there for him. He's mentally strong, that's his greatest asset, and he could achieve a lot of things. There's a lot of cricket in front of him and that can affect you but I'd like to think he will go all the way. He'll certainly go past my record in the not too distant future the way it's going and good on him because he'll deserve that. He's mastered his art to a degree and is always looking to improve. If he delivers, England win matches.

"I think we've seen already in the dressing room that he's prepared to make his own decisions. He doesn't always take the coaches advice in that he wants to do it his own way. He'll make mistakes and he won't get it right every time. You have to grow into that job, the way you get the best out of people, counsel them, and make tactical decisions. All those things come into it. He's in his infancy but I don't see any reason why he won't be a good captain and leader of men."

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Chris_P on (December 13, 2012, 0:52 GMT)

@Atul Srivatsan, No matter what you think of England, no one with an ounce of cricket knowledge would deny Cook's form at the moment placing him at such a level. Even though I am a huge Clarke & Amla admirer, Cook's deeds this series has been defining, much, much more than Amla's & Clarke's recent efforts. Perhaps when Clarke & Amla emulate Cook's efforts In India some measure of comparison might be even more reasonable, but really, to dismiss what he has done shows poor judgement IMHO. His biggest hurdle ahead of him is maintaining this form over a prolonged period, something that has challenged every batsman to date.

Posted by hhillbumper on (December 12, 2012, 22:35 GMT)

Cook is not bad so far but you have the feeling there is more to come. He does seem to score better abroad and in different conditions.

Posted by JG2704 on (December 12, 2012, 17:45 GMT)

@ Cpt.Meanster on (December 11 2012, 22:35 PM GMT) If you read his post he says SOME (not MOST) of the jokers who play IPL and he doesn't specify Indian cricketers either. Having said that , it's nothing (criticsing the effect IPL has had on test cricket) that many fellow Indian fans have not said before and during this series. Sorry bud , as I know you are a big IPL fan but maybe it is hurting the test side and maybe it is developing a culture of players who are playing for the money rather than the pride of playing for your country. There are some English cheerleaders/trashtalkers on these threads but JB is certainly not one of them and is one of the first to criticise England when they play poorly

Posted by JG2704 on (December 12, 2012, 17:45 GMT)

@subbass on (December 12 2012, 02:21 AM GMT) Personally I think Kholi is a potentially great test player and is just going through a lean patch at the moment. He was a one man show on the 2nd half of their Aus tour

@ Atul Srivatsan on (December 12 2012, 08:54 AM GMT) Does it actually say he's the best in the world right now in the article? Personally I'd rate Clarke above Amla , because Amla ii surrounded by proven quality players like Smith,Petersen,Kallis etc whereas Clarke doesn't have so much quality above/around him and often comes in when Aus are in dire trouble. He also has the captain's responsibility to deal with.

Posted by phoenixsteve on (December 12, 2012, 16:42 GMT)

@del84..... you are either new to cricket and have no knowledge or an Indian with selective memory or crazy! Just ask the likes Kapil Dev and Gavaskar (you've heard of these ... right?) and they'll tell you about 333 memories of Goochies ability in just one innings! COME ON ENGLAND!!!

Posted by stormy16 on (December 12, 2012, 16:10 GMT)

Cook is nothing short of an absolute sensation since 'that' Ashes tour. He only just made tour after a shocker summer but a late 100 saved his skin and since then he has been a sensation. Runs all over the world in all conditions since leaves no debates about the man's ability and at 28, the guy could break all records but Sachins will be a hard one - specially opeing in Eng each year.

Posted by   on (December 12, 2012, 8:54 GMT)

wat a joke ..... if he is in such good form what was he doing when the world's best team came to england and beat them hands down ..... apart for the century in the first innings philander had his number .... Hashim Amla is the world's best batsman right now by a margin ....second is Clarke .... thirs comes Cook ....

Posted by MinusZero on (December 12, 2012, 4:22 GMT)

Given the years he has left, i can see Cook pushing Sachin's runs total before he retires

Posted by subbass on (December 12, 2012, 2:21 GMT)

" Indian batsman Kohli is a phenomenal player. "


In ODI's/T-20's maybe, but seen nothing at all of late to prove that in Tests - a.k.a. the ultimate form of the game - to convince me. Dravid, Laxman and Sachin at his best(not the poor and in truth too old version we have seen this series), are the best Indian batsmen I have ever witnessed Maybe Mo. Azza also, but I was only small when I first saw him play.

Posted by subbass on (December 12, 2012, 1:54 GMT)

Could not care too much about which records he breaks. Only thing I truly care about is him smashing Aussie bowlers all round the park in Ashes series. Oh ok then, he'll score more tons than the truly great Ricky Ponting.

Sachin's record is hard to judge as he has scored 50% of his runs on flat as you like wickets, whereas in England the ball seams/swings a lot for openers..Either way Cooky will score plenty by the time his bat is hung up.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (December 12, 2012, 0:56 GMT)

@RandyOZ on (December 11 2012, 13:31 PM GMT), in fact, literally just behind Clarke and Amla in the rankings, although Chanderpaul is just ahead of all three of them.

Posted by Chris_P on (December 11, 2012, 22:57 GMT)

@deol84 . Who is Gooch? Fair question, here's a tip, look up stats before you ask,. Try this link for an indication of why he worth listening to & this effort at 37 years of age!.... http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/63534.html

Posted by Cpt.Meanster on (December 11, 2012, 22:35 GMT)

@jb633: You say 'well balanced comments' and then you thrash talk yourself. You call most of our Indian players as 'jokers' just cause they participate in the IPL ! How about showing some respect to Indian cricketers ? Besides, not many English fans had the basic manners to come out and appreciate the Indian team's performance after the Ahmedabad test. What balance are you talking about ?

Posted by Nutcutlet on (December 11, 2012, 21:52 GMT)

It's interesting that, good as he was beforehand (and he was supremely good in Oz) he's gone into an even higher gear since he became captain, as has Michael Clarke. By common consent, touring India is a tough assignment, possibly equally tough for an England cricketer as touring Australia, but to be your side's premier bat & captain for the first time (apart from a little run out in B'desh) & score as heavily as he has, is truly momentous (and I am not given to hyperbole). Everyone in the cricketing world is now sitting up & taking notice. Indians & sceptical Ozzies have to concede that Alistair Cook is the business. But, IMO, there's more than that. Much more. There is no doubt that he is indeed improving technically & has a hunger to do more, do better. His captaincy is very promising & shows in the cohesion that this England side has displayed. They all believe in Chef & are playing their socks off for him. Don't be fooled by his schoolboy exterior, he's made of tempered steel!

Posted by cbjayram81 on (December 11, 2012, 21:42 GMT)

I don't know if MSD have habit of looking into opposite team players last few innings before the play. If you see that, you will find Alastair cook having big problem facing over the wicket to him. In this series how many times did MSD or our bowlers tried to do it. except ohja's cook wicket . ISharma bowled over the wicket but not in good line.

Posted by Stuart_online on (December 11, 2012, 21:42 GMT)

Cook outscoring 4 Indian batsmen is indeed impressive, but is somewhat balanced by Pujara (ave 103) outscoring the combined might of Compton, Trott, Bell/Bairstow and Patel.... Very impressive by both players

Posted by Chris_P on (December 11, 2012, 21:37 GMT)

@jb633. Oh how I wish you were correct about them going into hiding, some have, but many of them are now focussing on their team rather than a simple acknowledgement of how they have been handed their you know what by a far better prepared team who show a willingness to take the fight up to the opposition even in the face of overwhelming pressure. This is not the England of old, so kudos to your lot. We always appreciate a bit of "ticker" when under the pump.

Posted by Shan156 on (December 11, 2012, 21:22 GMT)

@Thyagu5432, are you kidding me? Cook was never a doubtful starter before India's tour of England in 2011. He had just come off an incredible run in Australia followed by a superb performance against SL. He failed in Lord's and Trent Bridge but despite that his place was never in doubt. There were some concerns that he may have lost his form but he replied with 294 in Edgbaston. Though he didn't score heavily in Oval, he still made a decent contribution. But, the only time his place was in doubt was in the 2010 test series against Pakistan where he had a run of low scores before he replied with a ton in the 2nd innings in a losing cause at the Oval. Since the Ashes tour later that year, no one has questioned his place in the side.

Posted by Chris_P on (December 11, 2012, 20:40 GMT)

I have a great deal of time for Gooch, who actually improved as he got older. I would suggest, his form approaching 40 years of age was ahead of any other contemporary batsman I can recall. His form was actually better than the 27-34 age bracket he refers to. Theories are nice to hear, but only when the walk the talk does it count.

Posted by Shan156 on (December 11, 2012, 19:47 GMT)

@rationalized, Dennis Amiss? Are you referring to England's Dennis Amiss - I don't think there is any other international cricketer by that time. But, I thought he was a right-handed batsman.

Posted by Shan156 on (December 11, 2012, 19:38 GMT)

@nonsufficitorbis, Cook is English and he should and does cater to what the English fans like. We love tests and believe it is the purest format and we love our players to do their best on that format. Other formats are good but tests are the ultimate. Perhaps you don't like the format and perhaps the majority don't like the format. That doesn't mean that it is meaningless. Perhaps, it won't rake in the big money for Chef but I don't think he would be too worried about it.

Posted by Shan156 on (December 11, 2012, 19:31 GMT)

What is there to not like about Chef? He is an excellent batsman as proved by his average of 50 over 86 tests played all around the world. He has 23 tons and has centuries against all nations sans NZ and in all nations sans NZ and UAE. He has excellent 100 conversion rate : 23/52. England fans may remember the times when he makes a 60 and then gives his wicket away. He struggled against Aamer and Asif but worked hard on his game and scored a ton in the Oval test of that series that turned his fortunes around. Hopefully, he will stay free of injuries and break a lot of batting and captaincy. In addition to all this, he is a lovely bloke. Humble, quiet, calm, and has a pleasing demeanor. A lot like Dravid. Hopefully, he will emulate the Indian in his batting feats. England fans would love it if he finishes his career with numbers similar to the Indian batting master.

Posted by Dhanno on (December 11, 2012, 19:10 GMT)

@deol84..gooch is just some guy the english paid to teach their average batsman how to hold bat. Your non-knowledge of gooch isnt such a problem. All that matters in life is to know who is kohli dating and when is next jaipur tigers vs chennai bloppers IPL game. You are set buddy!

Posted by sephotrig on (December 11, 2012, 19:00 GMT)

@RandyOZ, If anything Cook and amla are ahead of Clarke, with both Cook and Amla batting in the top 3 they face the new ball more often, if Clarke wanted to be classed with these 2 he would have the guts to bat at 4 where he is needed by the team, rather than at 5 to protect himself from the newer ball. Don't misunderstand me, Clarke is a world quality player, but I believe Cook and Amla are superior.

Posted by Class-Apart on (December 11, 2012, 18:46 GMT)

If you ever want to put a curse on player who is doing well, just say what Gooch as said. My prediction Cook will fail in next test

Posted by JG2704 on (December 11, 2012, 18:04 GMT)

@nonsufficitorbis on (December 11 2012, 02:37 AM GMT) re - "To me cook will always remain an inferior batsman to Gayle/KP/Sehwag because the other 3 can Lord it in any format, while Mr. Cook just sneaks runs in a format that is not very popular anymore." - I'd say that's a very shallow comment. Cook may not be as expansive as these players but his mental strength and stamina are huge attributes

Posted by warneneverchuck on (December 11, 2012, 17:44 GMT)

This guy will surpass everyone but sachin

Posted by   on (December 11, 2012, 14:00 GMT)

In this media dominated world, "the eye catching player" bit is played up a little too much. If I am a WEst Indian, and if I reflect back at Shiv Chanderpaul's contribution, I would say, "Hell with your eye-catching stuff" , If I can say that about Chanders, I can say that a hundred times about Cook.

Posted by   on (December 11, 2012, 13:42 GMT)

@KanchanBNZ on (December 11 2012, 01:23 AM GMT). You said: "Quick thought - Is Jonathan Trott being protected? His 2012 average has dipped..."

Yes; unfortunately both teams have a few privileged & protected. Do I have to name; everyone knows. Small incremental changes are happening, though. Broad & Zak, for example!

Protectionism always breed incompetence. As in business & economy, so in sports & games. Same way, past means nothing. Present is the key. And, in future lies the vision. And, sustenance. Hopes for reaching the zenith for some; Hopes for resurrection for others. Old baggages need to be discarded, without fear, favour, or emotional foolhardy.

Posted by nursery_ender on (December 11, 2012, 13:41 GMT)

@deol84 on (December 11 2012, 08:53 AM GMT). Surely you remember Gooch? He's the chap who scored 333 and 123 in one Test against India.

Posted by RandyOZ on (December 11, 2012, 13:31 GMT)

Probably just behind Clarke and Amla, but he is in some serious form.

Posted by Thyagu5432 on (December 11, 2012, 12:51 GMT)

What purple patch? Before this series, Cook's last 15 test innings scores read thus 3,7,46,24,0,115,4,43,24,79,26,49*,94,14,0. That is an average of about 37. I am sure Purple patch is something different. He has just got into some form now and if law of averages come into play, we will soon see 3,7,46.. series.

Posted by bumsonseats on (December 11, 2012, 12:24 GMT)

deol84 go check gooch,s record its as as good as some and better than most. he scored his runs as opener in which is probably the hardest place to score. a guy with close to 9000 runs is right up there with the best.

Posted by bumsonseats on (December 11, 2012, 12:18 GMT)

23 100s by the time hes 27 and in a six year period would have thought most would enjoy a purple patch of that length. would think in the next decade as him playing till 38 would have thought great batters careers seem to last. cook has to play on wickets that do something similar as ponting.his would have thought is the record to go for as he has scored runs in more difficult places than ST

Posted by Yevghenny on (December 11, 2012, 12:00 GMT)

Cook is just behind Amla for me at the moment, but then again how can you argue against Michael Clarke's return. 3 top batsmen at the top of their game

Posted by wibblewibble on (December 11, 2012, 11:39 GMT)

@PiyushD - Cook's 'purple patch' as you call it has been going on for almost 3 years. It's not chance that he continually scores tons, he is already one of the greatest English players ever and given time I'm convinced he will be one of the all time greatest players.

He has no ego, he doesn't do celebrity. When he's not on tour he goes home to his wife's family farm and helps with the lambing etc.

Posted by jb633 on (December 11, 2012, 11:30 GMT)

It is ridiculous to talk of Cook breaking Sachin's record as of yet. He still has montains to climb if he is to achieve that feat. However for those suggesting he is only making runs against this attack. Did nobody watch the last Ashes series in which he amassed a staggering amount of runs. If you look at his 100 record you can see that he has made 100's all around the world. The worst I have seen Cookn was playing at home agains Mohammed Amir/Asif but luckily for him both those guys are well out of the picture now. He has worked hard to develop a game against spin and he must be given great credit for his performances in India. On another note it is great to hear many of the Indian fans giving credit where it is due. Before the series all we hard was heaps of trash talk about how bad England were. At least now the trash talkers have gone into hiding and the real cricket fans have come out of the woodwork. Thanks for the well balanced comments

Posted by PiyushD on (December 11, 2012, 11:01 GMT)

I guess he is just in a purple patch, experienced by every good player but all good things come to an end, not much to be said for Cook against Indian bowlers they are just pathetic. Anyone who can apply himself little will succeed against Indian bowlers.

Posted by jb633 on (December 11, 2012, 10:40 GMT)

@ nonsufficitorbis- one thing you must be aware of is the English public. Out test match stars get the extremley well paid central contracts and they are the biggest stars to our public. Maybe in countries like SA/WI/NZ/Ind the T2O stars will get paid more but over here the test match players are paid very well and they also are held in the highest regard by the public. Anyway more to the point, you must not have seen Cook's ODI record. Check it up it is pretty impressive. He made back to back 100's against PAK in the UAE against the likes of Ajmal/Rehman/Afridi etc on raging turners. Now for our batsmen making runs in those conditions against those bowlers is the ultimate challenge. Looking at some of the jokers that have made a living playing IPL (circus) cricket I am pretty sure Cook could adapt his game to do well in that as well.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (December 11, 2012, 9:30 GMT)

@deol84 on (December 11 2012, 08:53 AM GMT), did it not occur to you to click the link on Gooch's name in the Related Links section? He is the current England batting coach and one of England's most successful batsman of all time.

Posted by o-bomb on (December 11, 2012, 9:15 GMT)

Who will get to Gooch's record first - Cook or Pietersen?

Posted by deol84 on (December 11, 2012, 8:53 GMT)

whith all respect who is gooch.

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

Excellant Mental strength.Great guy.He is not getting bored staying there for long hours even without scoring runs.I believe you will be the next wall of World cricket.Nobody can get you out unless you decides its time to take rest.

Posted by srikanths on (December 11, 2012, 7:31 GMT)

Yes , it does look like that he would go on to score more centuries and more runs than anyone else. But the moment someone states it assertively is the time, you can be sure that the person starts wobbling.Poor Cook, he would have been better off without these pressures.

Gooch's statement could be the equivalent of commentator's curse One does hope that is not the case.

Cook, besides being an excellent batsman appears to be good person , well behaved and feet firmly on the ground.

Posted by Pathiyal on (December 11, 2012, 7:16 GMT)

a fantastic test player. i felt the indian bowling was too easy for him at the moment. alastair has a long way to go, all the age in his pocket :-)

Posted by cricfanraj on (December 11, 2012, 7:15 GMT)

While I respect Cook form, I don't read too much into this. Indian team got habit of creating Bradmen out of every series. Once they stuck with one player bowlers will go clueless on how to dismiss him. Remember Hyden, Flower, Chandrapaul and the list goes on....

Posted by pitch_it_up on (December 11, 2012, 6:57 GMT)

I am Indian Cricket fan, but boy, Cook has been playing like dream. Performing in conditions his team is not used to, and performing the way he has been doing is just tremendous. I wish him all the success (except against India) as he looks like pretty cool, calm, unflustered and level-headed cricketer. I predict England to do better under his leadership. Being an opener, and added pressure to lead his team, I think, even if he scores 35 Test centuries, it would be equal to 50 of them.

Posted by Thyagu5432 on (December 11, 2012, 6:47 GMT)

I think before India's last tour of England, Cook was one of the doubtful starters. He just about managed to retain his place and then he scored that big 100 against India to cement his place once for all. If I am not mistaken, there were comments that were made by England players as to how selfish Cook is etc. I think his interpersonal skills are pretty bad. As long as he succeeds, he can call the shots and others will listen to him. But the moment he starts failing, he will slide faster to doom than most others would do under similar situation. He is in sublime form and for his own sake, he better not let his form dip.

Posted by kringston on (December 11, 2012, 6:46 GMT)

So is Cook the new English superhero? Im sure once his form dips all the critics will be against him like with Peterson......

Posted by jmcilhinney on (December 11, 2012, 6:28 GMT)

@kc69 on (December 10 2012, 22:42 PM GMT), you mean how he's won every toss this series while playing on pitches he had prepared specifically to help his team win? Plenty of people were praising Amla for his series against England recently, even though he wouldn't have passed 50 once if England had held their catches. Many a big innings has followed a let off. The key is to make the opposition pay if they give you a life and Cook has done that.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (December 11, 2012, 6:24 GMT)

@Mad_Hamish on (December 11 2012, 01:07 AM GMT), if what I've heard is true then there were a couple of strong personalities in the England team at that time who didn't see eye to eye with Gooch and made the decision that he wasn't going to succeed as captain. Gooch has a string work ethic and that wasn't prevalent at the time. The only potential bad apple that comes to mind at the moment is KP, but everything seems quiet on that front for now. As Cook seemed to be an advocate for KP's reintegration, I'd guess that KP would be an ally right now too. Regardless of his personality, you certainly couldn't accuse KP of not sharing Cook's work ethic either.

Posted by kevinpp24 on (December 11, 2012, 6:16 GMT)

Cooks been brilliant in this series particularly. His captaincy is too short to analyse and he doesn't look like an attacking captain either but he'll learn on his way. He's there to stay for a long time.  Unlike other teams, our ex-captains have a trend of retiring from cricket than resigning from the job so our new captain usually is on his own to make decisions. 

Cook hasn't set the world on fire with his captaincy in the field but his involvement in bringing KP back into the team shows his ability to handle people really well at a very young age. Again his captaincy span is very short but he's showing lots of promise. You don't have to be brilliant in the field as a captain when you have a team like Ponting's (2003-2006), Dhoni's (2009-2011) and steve's and Cloyd's and Viv's team where everyone knows what's their role in the team and what they have to do. Your job will be mostly to jell the team together and keep them focused. And Cookie is definitely doing it pretty well.

Posted by T-800 on (December 11, 2012, 6:04 GMT)

I agree with Gooch that Cook's best years are yet to come but with one important caveat - As long as captaincy pressures do not affect his performance. So far that hasn't happened but it has only been a while since he has been captain. Captaincy Pressure is a cumulative phenomenon and takes some time to manifest. Only then can anyone say with confidence.

Posted by disco_bob on (December 11, 2012, 5:42 GMT)

Wake me up when he scores four double tons in a calendar year. Seriously though Cook and Clarke could set the Ashes alight, especially with b2b series. We are yet to see Cook's strategic genius as a captain, mind you if he can manage big scores all the time as an opener, he'll make it easier on himself for sure.

Posted by   on (December 11, 2012, 5:24 GMT)

I bet Gooch is talking about 45+ hundreds with an average of 55, He is definitely a legend in making

Posted by Kitschiguy on (December 11, 2012, 5:13 GMT)

Any comment made about how good a batsman looks when batting should be disregarded. There is no aspect to batting that is less relevant.

Posted by Rajasekar_P on (December 11, 2012, 5:12 GMT)

Cook is a very good hardworker as Dravid. He always takes pressure on his shoulder, mostly prevent his team mates playing in pressure

Posted by The_bowlers_Holding on (December 11, 2012, 4:48 GMT)

Apart from IT. Botham, Goochie was the first cricketer I idolised (still do) with his all white helmet and big tache. His average of around 40 does not do him anywhere near justice and shows how much more difficult batting at the top level, in an often struggling England side, was in those days; better bowling and more bowler friendly tracks ie. better cricket. His 333 against India could have easily have been a world record if he hadn't been pushing the run rate to win the game as captain, unlike Lara in Antigua.

Posted by anver777 on (December 11, 2012, 4:38 GMT)

If Cook's batting continues at this rate, then on wonder all the records are in danger & will be tumbled soon.... watch out!!! still lots of cricket left in his career !!!!

Posted by   on (December 11, 2012, 4:33 GMT)

Cook is on his way to break all time aggregate records of Tendulkar or may be Kallis at that time

Posted by warneneverchuck on (December 11, 2012, 4:25 GMT)

He will definitely surpass Lara ponting but can't say abt Kallis or sachin

Posted by SamRoy on (December 11, 2012, 4:18 GMT)

Yes, I think Gooch is right. Though the best years of a batsman are between 28 and 32 especially between 30 and 32. Gooch was an exception whose best years came very late in his career. By 34-35 a player normally is in his decline.

Posted by kensohatter on (December 11, 2012, 4:01 GMT)

As an aussie even I can admit he is the one player I dont want to see in the ashes. Hes a run scoring machine. There will be a day in 5-10yrs time when we will talk about Cook, Clarke and DeVilliers the way we talk about Ponting, Tendualker and Kallis now.

Posted by krishna_cricketfan on (December 11, 2012, 3:57 GMT)

Mr Gooch, Cook is already cooking our bowling since that debut hundred. There seems to be no lean period of form for him. If his best is yet to come, then we are going to be in for leather hunt for longer period. His performance in India must be commended. When so many of us thought that England will be rolled over, but the result says otherwise. Well played Cook and England and Gooch seems to have taught them how to milk Indian bowling.

Posted by   on (December 11, 2012, 3:48 GMT)

I think Cook has peaked a little too soon.. Hope we dont face another burn-out issue.. And if he gets lured by the likes of IPL, Big Bash, etc.. He'll have difficulty in focusing.

Posted by Cpt.Meanster on (December 11, 2012, 3:33 GMT)

Yes, totally agree with Gooch. 27 to 34 are the prime years of a batsman. Cook is yet to turn 27. I am sure he will be England's all time leading test run scorer and close to the top 3 all time test run scorers by the time he turns 34. Hopefully he stays out of injuries' way and has a healthy career.

Posted by rationalized on (December 11, 2012, 3:26 GMT)

Although I admit that Cook is a great batsman but let me remind you that everyone knows that Indians have always struggled against good left handed batsmen. If you look back Clive Lloyd, Dennis Amis, Hayden to name a few.

Don't put him on pedestal yet. He has to prove against quality bowling of SA and Ausies. IMPO, Hashim Amla and Kallis are also going through their golden period. Indian batsman Kohli is a phenomenal player.

Posted by HatsforBats on (December 11, 2012, 2:39 GMT)

Cook is showing the benefits of nurturing talent at the highest level and, due to longevity, he'll certainly break all the English batting records. I do feel Gooch is being generous; very few batsmen are able to maintain their best after 32 and rarely are captains lucky enough to start their careers against Bangladesh and a god-awful India. For such a limited batsman his application is exemplary and fantastic to watch. It's up to bowling attacks to show more discipline and attack those weaknesses if they want to stop him.

Posted by nonsufficitorbis on (December 11, 2012, 2:37 GMT)

The fact of the matter is, Cook scores runs at a time and in a format, when every one knows the best players are busy investing their best efforts in other formats of the game.

To me, it is similar to graeme hick and mark ramprakash scoring runs by the buckets in county cricket or some Indian player doing so in Ranji trophy. That is not where the big boys are bringing their real game.

Likewise, the big boys read gayle, kp and others bring their best game in t-20 leagues, tournaments and even ODI tournaments. If you have been awake and aware of what is happening, you must know that tests are not the most sought format by spectators, which also means, that the smart players are investing energy to perform in formats that people actually care for and not what some pseudo intellectuals care for.

To me cook will always remain an inferior batsman to Gayle/KP/Sehwag because the other 3 can Lord it in any format, while Mr. Cook just sneaks runs in a format that is not very popular anymore.

Posted by Rajasekar_P on (December 11, 2012, 2:27 GMT)

If Cook plays not much less than years, he will break every record made by Sachin in Test, I agree with Groochs statement

Posted by jimbond on (December 11, 2012, 2:19 GMT)

He has a rare run of form- hope it continues for long- but it rarely does. Right now, Clarke is also in the same state. Amla is in a longer stretch of form right now. Others (ABD, Md Yousuf, Kohli, Gambhir, KP, Trott, etc) had it for short periods of time. Only a few had it for longer durations- and that too never lasted for ever. Ponting, Lara, Chanderpaul, Tendulkar (later his tennis elbow made his batting look like a caricature of what had been), Dravid, Sangakkara- all seemed to be running a perpetual purple patch, but it ended at some point of time. Hence best to enjoy Cook's batting while it lasts. Foolish to make predictions. And now he has come into the bowler's radar (earlier KP or Strauss were the man to plan for in England). The best of batsmen have chinks in their armour and opponents keep focusing on it (Remember Ponting, Sehwag)

Posted by Meety on (December 11, 2012, 1:47 GMT)

Nothing that Gooch has said is wrong, but these types of predictions can often bite a bloke on the bum big time. Who's to say Cook isn't about to enter the doldrums? Regardless it's hard to believe he is still only 28. Gooch's comments about 35 being a peak year -IMO, is a bit presumptuous, not many cricketers have played their best cricket at 35. As an opener, I would say Cook's shelf life is lower than a middle order batsmen, which ultimately could mean he moves down the order at 35. Gooch says his England run record is under threat - I would say he is 100% correct about that, something fearfully bad would have to happen to Cook for him not to smash Gooch's record. Whilst I opened with a comment saying predictions are often wrong - I'll SUGGEST then, that SHOULD Cook play with this level of skill & commitment till he is 35, then 14,000 runs is a distinct probability, IF he was to play at current levels till the age Gooch played till - 20,000 is possible - SRT will have to play to 50!

Posted by jmcilhinney on (December 11, 2012, 1:39 GMT)

We've seen it repeated many times that Cook has scored a hundred in his first five Tests as captain but that is a bit of a spurious statistic. While it is impressive that the weight of the captaincy hasn't diminished his run-scoring capacity, the fact that those first five matches weren't consecutive makes it a little less so. While you still have to score the runs, he has had his share of luck this series against India too. I'm sure the man himself is not getting too exited about it either and is concentrating on improving his win/loss ratio as a captain.

Posted by KanchanBNZ on (December 11, 2012, 1:23 GMT)

Quick thought - Is Jonathan Trott being protected? His 2012 average has dipped...

Posted by Mad_Hamish on (December 11, 2012, 1:07 GMT)

While Gooch is well qualified to talk about Cook's batting I'm not sure that his endorsement of Cook as a captain is overly reassuring considering how he did as a captain.

Posted by   on (December 11, 2012, 0:52 GMT)

Gooch is absolutely right. Cook is going to overshadow many a great. As a batsman. Perhaps a s a Captain too. He is also proving that, one doesn't have to yell and shout at the mates (like the great Miandad used to do) to be an effective Captain. (For Indians, that gives some hope that the decently behaving Pujara can be groomed to replace Dhoni as a Captain, especially in Tests, where Dhoni may not be the right WK-Batsman either) Great, Cookie, Great!.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (December 11, 2012, 0:46 GMT)

Cook is probably not even half way through his Test career at the moment. There's every chance that he could go on to score 15,000 runs by the time he's done.

Posted by   on (December 11, 2012, 0:37 GMT)

Alistair is an awesome player. I am a huge fan of his. I personally think he may end his career with 13000+ Runs and maybe 40+ Centuries. The best is truly yet to come from the England Skipper

Posted by AjayB on (December 11, 2012, 0:35 GMT)

Cook is a really good player and deserves every ounce of success that he has achieved. As an Indian fan, disappointed that I will be if India were to lose the next test, I will also know that they lost to an opponent that truly deserved to win. I want to see Cook achieve great things and break all the records. He has the skill, attitude and temperament to do it.

Posted by 2.14istherunrate on (December 11, 2012, 0:11 GMT)

It all sounds a bit ominous unless you're English. Oh well it's our turn really.

Posted by IndCricFan2013 on (December 11, 2012, 0:04 GMT)

Good Luck to Alastair! Hope he one day break's Sachin record for most test 100's.

Posted by freo75 on (December 10, 2012, 23:44 GMT)

Assuming he stays fit, there is every chance Cook might rewrite the record books and become the greatest batsman of all time. No doubt others will argue that the likes of Bradman, Kallis, Ponting and Lara are greater and their claims would not be without merit. However lets not forget that Cook is doing all this as an opener, not hiding down the order like others, he has the burden of captaincy and he is playing half of his games at home, under tricky English conditions. Alastair Cook we salute you. Finish the current job and let us look forward to the next ten years.

Posted by kc69 on (December 10, 2012, 22:42 GMT)

Yes..when everything goes your way...Predictions come all by themselves!!!!!!!!

Posted by J.G.1 on (December 10, 2012, 22:39 GMT)

For me, Cook has the best batting attributes in world cricket right now. He will be a legend of the future; more a Dravid, quiet and sublime player then that of Pieterson or players like him. Keep going chef

Posted by ak_dragon on (December 10, 2012, 22:38 GMT)

MJ Clark, A Cook are role model of captaincy for this current era, felt sorry for MS DHONI & his team. But this is a good time for Tendulkar,Dhoni, Zaheer, Yuvraj & Harbhajan Should Retire.

Posted by StatisticsRocks on (December 10, 2012, 22:34 GMT)

Cook is fabulouos. He has the technique to play any kind of bowling. As much we Indians admire, adore, respect Sachin for all his contributions and now look forward to his retirement, I sincerely hope Cook breaks his record as he is the only one who is knocking on the door. Moreover records are meant to be broken. Cook, only 27 and already has 23 test centuries with 7000+ runs. This is indeed a remarkable achievement. He is such a cool customer and also a gentleman. All the best Mr. Cook from an Indian fan.

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