New Zealand v England, 2nd Test, Wellington March 13, 2013

Cook 'as good as anyone, barring Bradman' - McCullum

123

Brendon McCullum, the New Zealand captain, has heaped the ultimate praise on his opposite number Alastair Cook saying, on current form, he is as good as anyone who has played after Donald Bradman. Cook, who scored his 24th Test hundred in Dunedin, laughed off the shock comparison.

The century at University Oval was Cook's fourth hundred in five overseas Tests during the 2012-13 season, following a monumental series against India. But while his feats have rightly been acknowledged as putting him on the path to being labelled a great, it is rare to be uttered in the same sentence as Bradman who ended his career with the immortal average of 99.94. The next best on the list is Graeme Pollock (60.97), then George Headley (60.83). The highest average for a current player is Kumar Sangakkara's at 56.54.

McCullum, though, did not hold back his praise after being asked a question about how New Zealand planned to quell Cook's run-scoring feats. "He's obviously a genius batsman, his record is testament to that," McCullum said. "Where he is at in his career at the moment, he's as good as anyone who has played the game, probably barring Bradman."

Cook's response, after being taken aback by the comparison, was: "It's very nice of him to say that. I'm not quite sure where he's got that from." There was also plenty of mutual respect as Cook acknowledged McCullum's recent form. The New Zealand captain has scored five half-centuries in seven innings across all formats against England, including 74 off 59 balls in Dunedin. "You could talk about his genius batting. The way he hits the ball sometimes," Cook said.

Cook's current Test average of 49.60 places him 40th on the averages list, currently sat between Inzamam-ul-Haq and Denis Compton. Current contemporaries above him include AB de Villiers, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Younis Khan, Michael Clarke, Jacques Kallis and Sachin Tendulkar. Purely as a comparison, if you take the point from after last year's World Twenty20 when Test cricket resumed, Cook's average of 76.44 places him third, behind Cheteshwar Pujara and Clarke among batsmen who have played at least five innings.

Cook, though, remains modest about his achievements. "You never quite feel on top of the game," he said. "What was pleasing for me was, after a few starts in the one-dayers here and in India, but [with] no match-winning score, I managed to get that bigger one in the first Test. I seemed to hit the ball okay." A modest oulook from a man compared to the immortal Bradman.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on March 13, 2013, 14:18 GMT

    Not a good comparison but Cook has all the chances to become a greatest ever in test matches. Cook may not have faced greats like Mcgrath, Akram, Waqar but in the last series against India, he neutralized the Indian spin bowling on sharp turning tracks which i think is not an easy task. And i think even Sachin, Lara and Kallis have not played all the cricket against great bowlers, being a subcontinent player Sachin's record is not so good in second innings when the ball turns and in the first innings on Indian pitches all you need is skill and concentration to neutralize even great bowlers. When Cook faces Steyn, it is either SA or England but in case of Indians half the times it is India and that is a big difference. Akram and Waqar were from Pakistan and the pitches in India and Pakistan are not so good for fast bowlers. So what the Cook has done till now is like a feat, if he continues like this for some 8 years he can break most of the records.

  • Yakka-04 on March 13, 2013, 11:55 GMT

    No players can be compared in cricket as the best. Even Sir Donal Bradman averaging 99+ cannot be said as being the best as no one knows how he would have fared against the likes of Ambrose, Wasin Akram, Waqar Unis, Glen McGrath, Bond and co. Also the likes of Tendulkar, Lara, Ponting if they played at the time of Bradman how would they have gone against those bowlers. Those days not so much effort was put into preparation, physics, ground and pitch maintenance etc. while today every part of cricket is being baby fed. The only comparison that can be made is between players of the same generations. Cook is not facing any of the above mentioned bowlers and the bowling stock in world cricket is rather poor at the moment. Cook is a good batsmen but best since Bradman is unrealistic. Swap Cook with Bradman and then see what the stats say. Swap Cook with Arthurton or Gooch then see. It is impossible to compare him to any players of yesteryears.

  • on March 13, 2013, 11:08 GMT

    He's not being compared with Bradman. Just with anybody since Bradman. And don't forget that in the temporate climate of England it is harder to consistantly score big, with moving Duke balls, which make his acheivements to date even more impressive. And that's at the top of the order too.

  • Manu_reddy on March 14, 2013, 15:34 GMT

    Any1 can analyse any batsmen/bowler by seeing him but bowlers n batsmen r d best people to analyse their opposite nos..so only bowlers can say who is d best batsmen in d world n in d same way only batsmen can saywho is d best bowler in d world...

  • wrenx on March 14, 2013, 10:07 GMT

    I know a lot of people really rate Cook, but I'm not one of them. I'm inclined to agree with those here who recognise that Tendulkar's taken on far better bowling attacks and found a way of putting together big scores. Cook regularly looks out is depth when faced with quality bowling, and gets an extraordinary number of umpiring errors going in his favour. Maybe he'll get there one day, but for now, he's just a regular batsman with inflated statistics.

  • cric_J on March 14, 2013, 9:23 GMT

    Cook is certainly one of the top 3 test batsmen of today along with Amla.These two are in a league of their own and are not flustered by anything.Though Amla is technically better and a more complete batsman.Clarke, I feel , for all his incredible efforts in 2012 is third.There is a certain surity and belief with Cook and Amla that they would be as consistent in the future ,that they could go on and on.Like it was with Dravid.But with Clarke I have my doubts whether he will be able to live up to his standards of last year.Also until last year nobody was very sure of Clarke's capability as a test batsman.And then suddenly after one great year he is being hailed as one of the greatest in Aussie cricket by some.Cook definitely has it in him to be one of the top 10 batsmen in the history of test cricket and in all probability he should be England's highest run scorer of all time if he goes with the same pace.But it is just a little too early to put him up there with some of the greatest.

  • cric_J on March 14, 2013, 8:09 GMT

    I am not going to get into the debate of who is the best test batsman of all time.Different people have different criteria for their assessment.In terms of winning matches for the team ,it would be Ponting,for average it would be Bradman,for consistently scoring mountains of runs it would be Sachin and Lara while for being technically sound it could be one of Dravid,Kallis or Gavaskar.Also I feel that it is not fair to call Bradman the best of all time as the rules of the game and the quality of the game was much different back then.And although Sachin has not been at his best for quite some time now,it is lame and rather ridiculous to compare him to peole like Sehwag and Azhar.AZHAR WHO ??Let us all face it that he is definitely one of the top 3(or make it 5 if needed) batsmen of all time.There is NO DENYING that.

  • on March 14, 2013, 5:20 GMT

    No one is comparing Cook with anyone, the statement simply says that he's the best SINCE Bradman, which honestly, is an unfair comparison in itself. Cook may be the best batsman to have come out of England in the last 50 years but to declare him the best in the world in the last 70 years is getting too carried away. It is grossly unfair to belittle players like Weekes, Sobers, Kallis and Dravid, who have faced most of the top 10 bowlers of all time and succeeded. But then again, if we talk about current form there is no one better than Amla and Cook (not even Clarke who has scored most of his runs on home/dead pitches) currently and dismissing them IN CURRENT FORM is akin to dismissing Bradman in his prime which is a completely agreeable statement.

  • Arrow011 on March 14, 2013, 5:07 GMT

    KP is way better than Cook even in England cricket team. Cook is like Rahul Dravid & KP is Sachin.

  • CricketChn82 on March 14, 2013, 4:48 GMT

    Had Lara/Sachin/Ponting/Kallis/Dravid/Inzamam/Sanga played the same way as cook is playing(Test Specialist) they would have been far ahead of Cook.Cook has not even been considered for 2 ODI world cups.Has played very few ODI matches in his 7 year career.But he can become a All time great for "England" if he continues with the same for next 6-7 years in Tests and Help england win a ODI world cup.No way next to Sir Don - Indian Fan

  • on March 13, 2013, 14:18 GMT

    Not a good comparison but Cook has all the chances to become a greatest ever in test matches. Cook may not have faced greats like Mcgrath, Akram, Waqar but in the last series against India, he neutralized the Indian spin bowling on sharp turning tracks which i think is not an easy task. And i think even Sachin, Lara and Kallis have not played all the cricket against great bowlers, being a subcontinent player Sachin's record is not so good in second innings when the ball turns and in the first innings on Indian pitches all you need is skill and concentration to neutralize even great bowlers. When Cook faces Steyn, it is either SA or England but in case of Indians half the times it is India and that is a big difference. Akram and Waqar were from Pakistan and the pitches in India and Pakistan are not so good for fast bowlers. So what the Cook has done till now is like a feat, if he continues like this for some 8 years he can break most of the records.

  • Yakka-04 on March 13, 2013, 11:55 GMT

    No players can be compared in cricket as the best. Even Sir Donal Bradman averaging 99+ cannot be said as being the best as no one knows how he would have fared against the likes of Ambrose, Wasin Akram, Waqar Unis, Glen McGrath, Bond and co. Also the likes of Tendulkar, Lara, Ponting if they played at the time of Bradman how would they have gone against those bowlers. Those days not so much effort was put into preparation, physics, ground and pitch maintenance etc. while today every part of cricket is being baby fed. The only comparison that can be made is between players of the same generations. Cook is not facing any of the above mentioned bowlers and the bowling stock in world cricket is rather poor at the moment. Cook is a good batsmen but best since Bradman is unrealistic. Swap Cook with Bradman and then see what the stats say. Swap Cook with Arthurton or Gooch then see. It is impossible to compare him to any players of yesteryears.

  • on March 13, 2013, 11:08 GMT

    He's not being compared with Bradman. Just with anybody since Bradman. And don't forget that in the temporate climate of England it is harder to consistantly score big, with moving Duke balls, which make his acheivements to date even more impressive. And that's at the top of the order too.

  • Manu_reddy on March 14, 2013, 15:34 GMT

    Any1 can analyse any batsmen/bowler by seeing him but bowlers n batsmen r d best people to analyse their opposite nos..so only bowlers can say who is d best batsmen in d world n in d same way only batsmen can saywho is d best bowler in d world...

  • wrenx on March 14, 2013, 10:07 GMT

    I know a lot of people really rate Cook, but I'm not one of them. I'm inclined to agree with those here who recognise that Tendulkar's taken on far better bowling attacks and found a way of putting together big scores. Cook regularly looks out is depth when faced with quality bowling, and gets an extraordinary number of umpiring errors going in his favour. Maybe he'll get there one day, but for now, he's just a regular batsman with inflated statistics.

  • cric_J on March 14, 2013, 9:23 GMT

    Cook is certainly one of the top 3 test batsmen of today along with Amla.These two are in a league of their own and are not flustered by anything.Though Amla is technically better and a more complete batsman.Clarke, I feel , for all his incredible efforts in 2012 is third.There is a certain surity and belief with Cook and Amla that they would be as consistent in the future ,that they could go on and on.Like it was with Dravid.But with Clarke I have my doubts whether he will be able to live up to his standards of last year.Also until last year nobody was very sure of Clarke's capability as a test batsman.And then suddenly after one great year he is being hailed as one of the greatest in Aussie cricket by some.Cook definitely has it in him to be one of the top 10 batsmen in the history of test cricket and in all probability he should be England's highest run scorer of all time if he goes with the same pace.But it is just a little too early to put him up there with some of the greatest.

  • cric_J on March 14, 2013, 8:09 GMT

    I am not going to get into the debate of who is the best test batsman of all time.Different people have different criteria for their assessment.In terms of winning matches for the team ,it would be Ponting,for average it would be Bradman,for consistently scoring mountains of runs it would be Sachin and Lara while for being technically sound it could be one of Dravid,Kallis or Gavaskar.Also I feel that it is not fair to call Bradman the best of all time as the rules of the game and the quality of the game was much different back then.And although Sachin has not been at his best for quite some time now,it is lame and rather ridiculous to compare him to peole like Sehwag and Azhar.AZHAR WHO ??Let us all face it that he is definitely one of the top 3(or make it 5 if needed) batsmen of all time.There is NO DENYING that.

  • on March 14, 2013, 5:20 GMT

    No one is comparing Cook with anyone, the statement simply says that he's the best SINCE Bradman, which honestly, is an unfair comparison in itself. Cook may be the best batsman to have come out of England in the last 50 years but to declare him the best in the world in the last 70 years is getting too carried away. It is grossly unfair to belittle players like Weekes, Sobers, Kallis and Dravid, who have faced most of the top 10 bowlers of all time and succeeded. But then again, if we talk about current form there is no one better than Amla and Cook (not even Clarke who has scored most of his runs on home/dead pitches) currently and dismissing them IN CURRENT FORM is akin to dismissing Bradman in his prime which is a completely agreeable statement.

  • Arrow011 on March 14, 2013, 5:07 GMT

    KP is way better than Cook even in England cricket team. Cook is like Rahul Dravid & KP is Sachin.

  • CricketChn82 on March 14, 2013, 4:48 GMT

    Had Lara/Sachin/Ponting/Kallis/Dravid/Inzamam/Sanga played the same way as cook is playing(Test Specialist) they would have been far ahead of Cook.Cook has not even been considered for 2 ODI world cups.Has played very few ODI matches in his 7 year career.But he can become a All time great for "England" if he continues with the same for next 6-7 years in Tests and Help england win a ODI world cup.No way next to Sir Don - Indian Fan

  • on March 14, 2013, 4:26 GMT

    I think everyone just needs to take a step back and, maybe, read what McCullum has said.

    He said - "Where he is at in his career at the moment, he's as good as anyone who has played the game, probably barring Bradman."

    As far as I can tell, in no way or manner, does that mean or imply he is the best after Bradman. In a general sort of way, he has equated Cook with all the other great batsmen that we recognise as belonging to the top category...all the greats who we've identified, over the years, as better than the rest. Let's credit McCullum with that much. It's not nearly the sweeping statement it's being made out to be.

  • Crackteam on March 14, 2013, 4:25 GMT

    Andrew also forgot to look up the current monumental average of Chiteshwar Pujara!

  • phaktaa_tikit on March 14, 2013, 4:19 GMT

    @Imsrk - Tendlya has no notable achievements against the bowlers u mentioned apart from beating them on dead tracks. so, please dont just bring in a random reason to qualify greatness. Secondly, cook has defied some of the bowlers who are best in their backyards - ex; Ashwin, Bhajji, Herath.. so please underestimate Cook merely for you blind love to your God

  • Arrow011 on March 14, 2013, 3:58 GMT

    Cook is surely a very stubborn batsman, he can only be compared top Rahul Dravid or Kallis as they all lack talent but compensate with extreme, rigorous hard work which at times give more strength to their respective teams. Comparing Cook to Bradman who was an extremely talented stroke maker shows how weak is Brendon Mc cullam's knowledge on batsmen. As regards comparison I would rate Sachin Tendulkar way ahead of Bradman is because he has played in a dozen countries, played ODIs also where he has an unmatched record, in Tests he has scored all the records way more than any other batsman can dream of. He has just crossed 7,000 HOME tests runs, if you see his record he has scored more overseas than in India that itself shows he was never a backyard bully. Other players like Don, Mahela Jayawardena, Sangakkara, Ponting & Kallis are heavy scorers at home only.

    The best batsmen on my rating is as under 1. Sachin 2. Bradman 3. Lara 4. V. Sehwag 5. K. Pietersen People pay to watch them

  • guptahitesh4u on March 14, 2013, 3:57 GMT

    Cook is a great batsman..no doubt about that..if not know, in future (after 4-5 years from now), he will be talked about in the same league as Tendulkar, Lara, Ponting or Kallis!!

  • on March 14, 2013, 3:26 GMT

    Cook is a tempramental player, he doesnt have wide range of shots. His average is just under 50 Uptil now he is on a right track of becoming a great test player. If he is able to sustain or improve from here onwards, he can enter (which i m sure he will) the hall of hame of all time greats. Tendulkar & kaliis have almost completed their career. Sangakara too reaching that stage fast. Now we r left with - Cook, Clarke, Amla, De villiers and Smith in terms of most runs in test career. Looking at the age, form and consisitency I think Cook is slightly ahead of remaining four

  • Buggsy on March 14, 2013, 3:06 GMT

    I agree, Cook is easily one of the top batsmen of the modern era. Though Tendulkar better than Bradman? Give me a break, I'd like to see Tendulkar play on the minefield-like uncovered pitches of the 30's WITHOUT a helmet instead of the manicured roads in India.

  • Blokker on March 14, 2013, 2:57 GMT

    Mind games from McCullum, Cook is a decent player, but a 50 plus average is where the yardstick begins.

  • G--J on March 14, 2013, 2:56 GMT

    If Michael Clarke is on his way to being a great player, and I think most in Australia would argue that is the case, then Cook's figures certainly stack up. Additionally, Cook is (I think) the only opener named of all those being discussed, and to score the number of centuries he has, and to average nearly 50 as an opener shows he is a good player. I'd be interested to see a comparison to the great openers of the past.

  • MelbourneMiracle on March 14, 2013, 2:55 GMT

    Andrew McGlashan has forgotten to mention Sangakkara's name in the list.

  • screamingeagle on March 14, 2013, 2:49 GMT

    McCullum is trying to get into the England team, methinks :P

  • Vivian_Richard on March 14, 2013, 2:44 GMT

    He didn't call him the best after Bradman. He's as good as 'anyone', barring Bradman. A fair comparison, because Cook would still be in the elite company of all-time greats. It would be worth remember that Cook at 28, and the kind of player he is, would eventually figure in the list of players who've scored 10,000 runs. And that list isn't exhaustive.

    Now, it isn't Cook's fault that there aren't any fire-breathing opposition bowlers around. If they were around, who's to say that he wouldn't have adapted?

  • Greatest_Game on March 14, 2013, 2:25 GMT

    I posted a Comment about Cook being described by McCullum as "as good as anyone, barring Bradman." I thought that comment was, well, somewhat at odds with reality. Then I jumped over to see how things are going in the New Zealand vs England test. The first thing I see is this - cut and pasted directly from the Cricinfo commentary

    "10.1 Wagner to Cook, OUT, fullish and chipped in the air ... straight to mid-on! For the second time in two Tests, Cook has thrown his wicket to Wagner! AN Cook c Fulton b Wagner 17 (31b 1x4 0x6) SR: 54.83

    As good as anyone since Bradman? Maybe not. Although he is beginning to look a bit like Wagner's bunny. He looks "as good as any bunny, barring Cullinan!"

  • on March 14, 2013, 2:19 GMT

    I think people are blowing this all out of proportion, including Cricinfo themselves. By how McCullum has made his statement, it doesn't seem to indicate that Cook is the best batsman after Bradman, McCullum is just going on Cook's recent form and saying such run-scoring regularity can be described as Bradman-esque. By the same measure, Michael Clarke would easily outrank Cook - what an amazing 18 month purple patch in his career in numerous trying conditions including playing at home against a full strength SAf attack, and a century and half century against heavy spin in India at the moment. Let's not get carried away here, not saying Cook isn't a great batsman - someone who has already scored 24 hundreds with many years to go already has the makings of a great - but his career form needs to be consistently high to be counted in the higher echelons of cricketing legends. Frankly, I think B McCullum may even be playing mind games with Eng and the press.

  • Someguy on March 14, 2013, 2:02 GMT

    @ Lmaotsetung - if he averages 40 for 80 more tests he will be an all time great? What an insane comment. If he averages 40 and scores 1300 runs he will be remembered for having a long, mediocre career. If he hangs around that long, averaging that poorly, he will also probably be remembered for being around during an extremely poor time in English cricket.

  • Someguy on March 14, 2013, 1:49 GMT

    Cook is solid at best. He is hard to remove once he gets in, but is nowhere near the class of Bradman. He is not even close to being the best batsman around today, let alone of all time.

    I doubt you would get too many people turning up just to watch Cook bat.

  • on March 14, 2013, 1:37 GMT

    Cook is the best opening batsman in the world today, and has been for the past 3 years. As to the best today, he shares that spot with Amla and Clarke, both of whom are also in great form, and doing well against all kinds of bowling on various overseas wickets. So he is one of the best 3 in the world TODAY, on current form. And Kevin Pietersen, Sanga, Kallis, and Marlon Samuels can't be that far behind these three. Pujara can join that list if he does well in South Africa,; if he averages at least 40 in that series.

  • Nadeem1976 on March 14, 2013, 0:31 GMT

    wow this is joke of the year by BM. I am not saying that cook is not a great player but saying that he is best after Bradman is insult to currently living legend Tendulkar. Cook has just played 88 tests and Tendulkar has played 197 and still has 5 runs mover average than cook and has two time more hundreds than cook.

    I am from Pakistan and i think Sachin is best batsman ever. Look at the records even Bradman would like to have those stats instead one great 100 average. Tendulkar got 100 100s . What a joke.

  • QTS_ on March 14, 2013, 0:30 GMT

    This compliment is outlandishly lavish from McCullmu. Is it a ploy to get Cook complacent for the next match (against NZ too)?

  • The_bowlers_Holding on March 14, 2013, 0:19 GMT

    Did I read this right it was B. McCullum that said this and not Cook or anyone to do with England. No player alive today is a shadow of Bradman full stop certainly not tiny Tendo.

  • wickedballs on March 13, 2013, 23:34 GMT

    A great tactic Brendon, we can see now why they made you captian, Have the jelly beans ready near the pitch and three cheers when Cookr comes into bat and maybe the tears in his eyes will induce a false stroke !

  • PFEL on March 13, 2013, 23:11 GMT

    Cook is a great current player, but that's a ridiculous statement lol. Can't help but feel it must have been taken a little out of context.

  • on March 13, 2013, 22:53 GMT

    Doesn't anyone know what hyperbolic expressions are anymore?

  • on March 13, 2013, 22:53 GMT

    no doubt that cook is the best test batsman today along with hashim amla but there are lots of batsman that are better then cook who have faced tough competition besides dale steyn, james anderson i dont see great bowlers around todays time

  • gsingh7 on March 13, 2013, 22:46 GMT

    cook is below amla and clarke possibly below pujara and kallis nowadays. before that he was below around 200 batsmen when he played poorly in 5-0 ashes loss to mighty aussies. mac got it all wrong.

  • Humdingers on March 13, 2013, 22:45 GMT

    Why do people always want to bring Tendulkar into discussions? India is not even playing here people! Let him be for the love of the cricket gods! Cook will definitely go past the current batting and no. of century records. The bloke may be boring, but the way he accumulates runs in all conditions is pretty damn good (and I am not even a fan of his or of England).

  • on March 13, 2013, 22:35 GMT

    this is fantastic mind games from McCullum

  • on March 13, 2013, 22:31 GMT

    @IndiaNumeroUno , Sachin better than Bradman,lol good one fella! but back to Cook being better than Bradman, this is one of the silliest things I have heard in a long-time! although I'm guessing this is some mind games by McCullum.

  • HennopsRiverEnd on March 13, 2013, 22:16 GMT

    LOL can't believe people are debating about this and there are actually naive English fans trying to justify these arguments. Cook is a good batsman, whose recent form should be celebrated like your Amla's, Kumar's and Clarke's, that's it. Lay off Sachin, you all know he's THAT great and deserves that respect.

  • Greatest_Game on March 13, 2013, 22:14 GMT

    The World 20/20 started Sept 18 & ended Oct 20. 26 days later Cook played his 1st test. Yet August 20, 29 days before the World 20/20, he played his last day of test cricket. The the difference between between tests before & after the tournament is only 3 days!! Why not look at his stats over a longer period than a tour of India, and 1 match against NZ?

    In India Cook averaged 80.28. WOW, that's like… "as good as anyone, barring, Bradman!" But, hold on. In his previous series, he averaged a measly 32.5. WOW, that sucks like Australia's current middle order without Clarke. Making a big hoopla about Cook the brilliant batsman seems artificial when only his high stats are quoted. His awful stats against South Africa - just 32.5 - puts him closer Chris Martin's bottom of the barrel 2.36, than to Bradman's greatest ever.99.94.

    Cook averages below 50. He is number 40 on the all time list. So truthfully, he is NOT as good as 39 other batsmen, and Bradman.

    Cricinfo, please publish

  • 2nd_Slip on March 13, 2013, 22:07 GMT

    Nothing more than mind games really, so chill people. We all know Cook is good, but even of those players playing today he would strugle to make in the top six. Im sure McCullum knows of the existance of a certain Amla,Clarke,AB de Villiers,KH Kallis and Sangakara

  • hhillbumper on March 13, 2013, 21:52 GMT

    did anyone notice that Cook himself has not made any such statement and never would. he just bats and bats and scores runs. As to all the Indian fans going on about Tendulkar he isn't even the best modern indian batsman.That goes to Dravid. Ponting and Kallis are both better. Tendulkar has never hit a winning century when it matters.he is an over rated flat track whacker.

  • Avidcricketlover on March 13, 2013, 21:41 GMT

    McCullum just overcooked. Oh, yeah. That's a memory problem.

  • bobpeecee on March 13, 2013, 21:39 GMT

    Cook may be the best barring Bradman but he still will not draw many people to watch him play. Cook is a boring player to watch. I certainly don't go to watch a test match because Cook is playing. Anderson and KP are probably the two current players who are worth paying money to watch live.

  • on March 13, 2013, 21:30 GMT

    cook is awsome he will break all d records barring bradman i mean in terms of centuries n runs for sure.

  • Stos on March 13, 2013, 20:39 GMT

    @IndiaNumeroUno: I'm not sure that you know how the word 'barring' works. It might be worth looking it up.

  • warneneverchuck on March 13, 2013, 20:34 GMT

    Both tendulkar and cook were at the top of ther game at the age of 30. But the diff is tendulakr faced bowlers like wasim waqar McGrath warne murli Ambrose Donald saqlain, Walsh etc and cook faced bowlers like Ishant sharma zaheer Tino best walegadra Ashwin vetori siddle Nathan lione doherty siddle etc.

  • poms_have_short_memories on March 13, 2013, 20:32 GMT

    I think i could name 20 players since Bradman that are better than Cook and even the most ardent English fans would agree with 10 of them i dare say. G.Pollock, G.Sobers, G. Chappell, Peter May,Tendulkar, Barry and Viv Richards, Brian Lara, Ricky Ponting, even Graham Gooch.

  • SL_BiggestJoke on March 13, 2013, 20:09 GMT

    McCullum is correct in saying that Cook is the best AFTER Bradman... No need to drag Tendulkar into this since Tendulkar comes BEFORE Bradman. Period.

  • warneneverchuck on March 13, 2013, 19:58 GMT

    If by scoring tons of runs against today' medicore bowlers cook is called best batsman m. Then what about a guy called tendulkar who averages at least more than 40 in all cricket playing nations and faced best attacks in the world in his 24 years old carrier

  • Naikan on March 13, 2013, 19:48 GMT

    A good number of times, many test players retort to other analysts with"you have'nt played tests, you would not know what it is like there in the center". I accept that may be true to some extent, but then a lamp casts a shadow right underneath itself. At least in recent times, I found more often than not, most opinions that cricekters give are no better than what an average school boy does. Probably, becoming a professional cricketer has cost them a good education robbing them of good analytical ability. Cook seems a good role model as a person and for many other things. However as a batsmen he needs to improve his below 40 averages against 3 of the countries he has played a 3rd of his tests and do much better in the shorter versions than the pitiful 6 centuries he has managed (considering the pace at which the Don batted), for us to take McCullum more seriously. While McCullum cannot be credited to be a good analyst he may not be a bad schemer trying to psyche Cook out by this ploy.

  • on March 13, 2013, 18:51 GMT

    I've just read the headline and have to say that its quite a statement from McCullum. Cook is only a few years into his career, and yes, he is having a purple patch. To render such blanket statements about your opposition captain is probably a sign of being overawed. I would not enter into arguments as to who is the best after Bradman because that is a topic as controversial as it can be, but lets just hold our judgments on how good Cook is until he is done as a cricketer.

  • landl47 on March 13, 2013, 18:42 GMT

    Before the first test McCullum said that England is a giant in test cricket. Now he's saying Cook is the second-best batsman of all time. Neither statement is true; McCullum was just trying to get into the heads of the England players and, most notably, their captain. What McCullum does know is that Cook is a very hard man to get out once he has got set, so anything he (McCullum) can do to distract Cook is a good ploy.

    Cook's a very good player and might go on to become a great player, but he isn't there yet. He's certainly not in the top 10 batsmen I have seen, let alone of all time. Tendulkar and Kallis of those currently playing would make that list. However, both the best batsman and the best cricketer I have seen was Garry Sobers. No-one else that I've seen really comes close.

  • dariuscorny on March 13, 2013, 18:41 GMT

    sad and hillarious both, when a person who is limited in stroke play and talent is being compared or perhaps is said to be second to only Don Bradman......very funny

  • Baseball-Sucks on March 13, 2013, 18:18 GMT

    @Posted by bouncedout; What r u talking about ? Kumar Sangakkara is the best "Test" batsman in the world today. He is currently averaging 57.00 ( Home : 62.56/ Away 49.96). And he is way classier than Cook. Btw Cook is awesome too.

  • on March 13, 2013, 18:02 GMT

    @akr555: India's 2011 slaughter by England (two innings defeats plus two by, respectively, 196 & 319 runs, lest we forget) is a case in point. After the 1st Test at Lord's Gambhir pulled out of the 2nd at Trent Bridge with a mysterious 'injury' (a scenario he comically replicated at The Oval by somehow managing to land gently on his head after failing to take a sitter in the outfield, thus conveniently forcing himself to relinquish his opening spot). At the time, Sachin had been India's regular ODI opener for *years*. What would've been more natural than for him to take over Gambhir's opening slot in both Tests? But, no. Instead the entire batting order had to be rijigged - with Dravid moving up to open & VVS going in at Three - in order to allow Sachin to retain his slot at Four.

    Cricket's a team game. Players such as Dravid, VVS, Azhar & Sehwag always put themselves in the firing line in the interests of their team. Did Sachin or Gambhir? No. That's what separates them.

  • iDontLikeCricket on March 13, 2013, 18:02 GMT

    McCullum stated specifically that Cook does NOT compare to Bradman, so I'm not sure where this Bradman comparison comes from. But anyway, as McCullum says, Cook has a very impressive record at this point in his career. I'm sure he will continue to break and set many English records as the years go by. Interesting he only averages 36 against NZ, so it does sound like a bit of gamesmanship from McCullum. Unsurprisingly, whenever there is talk of Bradman (and him being the benchmark of the best), suddenly there are multiple comments about Tendulkar and how he is in fact the greatest. Maybe the Zaltzman can name this phenomenon.

  • vaibhavsharma100 on March 13, 2013, 17:35 GMT

    @Si Baker... I think itz an in thing to criticize Tendulkar thesse days and bring him in such discussions. Cook has just started and I really doubt if you know it or not( or else you won't have made such statements), Tendulkar was at his peak at the age of 28 which Cook is at now and he shadowed each and everyone around. He made runs against some of the greatest bowlers of all times unlike Cook who faced mediocre indian bowling. Cook was hapless against a good quality attack of South Africa which is the only current bowling attack which can be compared with the attacks which Sachin/Lara faced. It remains to be seen if Cook will be able to maintain this average even in the next year.

  • shaunieboy on March 13, 2013, 17:33 GMT

    @nutcutlet : i dont want to decry Bradmans achievements at all, He was and IS quite obviously right up there, but what History teaches us is that we should never stop asking questions, do not continually take things as read..my point is that people seem reluctant to accept that maybe..just maybe he wasnt the greatest batsman to have graced the game and thats annoying and blinkered. All the players that have been mentioned in this thread are entitled to the mantle at some point in my opinion, regardless of era , attack etc. My personal vote would go to b.c Lara..now he could take an attack apart not to mention almost single handedly carrying that team for so long [remember that tour to Sri Lanka ?] I dont doubt the genius of the Don,just think there are others too!!

  • Texmex on March 13, 2013, 17:19 GMT

    It is totally illogical to compare players from different eras - Mr. Boycitt always says that and rightfully so.

    Tendulkar has played over 24 years in international cricket - lot of test cricket and one dayers all around the world. Plus he is constantly analyzed in this age of TV slow motion, 24 hour news critical, and 1B+ population. Bradman mostly played against England at 5 test/year........

  • akr555 on March 13, 2013, 16:49 GMT

    @Si Baker - I know based on current form Sachin bashing is a fav here. But how is it that when Sachin scores centuries and is the top scorer when India were whitewashed 3-0 in Australia in 2000, we say he cant win games, yet when Dravid scores and India are whitewashed in England, we say he stood up while Sachin failed? I certainly feel Sachin hasn't lived to the potential that fans believe he has but you are just being naïve when you say things like Azhar and Sehwag being better batsmen. So chill.

    ABout Cook who has had a good run in the last couple of years, he is certainly a long way away from being in the legion of all time greats. Hussey once averaged 70+ & Pujara currently does but it is the consistency over the long haul that makes one the best. Cook currently averages below 50 which shows that he has a long way to go.

  • 2.14istherunrate on March 13, 2013, 16:49 GMT

    ...iin 2000 a panel of judges set out a list the best players of all time with Bradman,Hobbs,Sobers and Richards all appearing in the top 5. This of course not infallible but a good list none the less. However in recent history we had a debate surrounding Tendulkar as arguably the 2nd beat player ever. However this may be tempered by the debate over whether Lara was better than T'dulkar-a matter of opinion rather than fact.There are indeed many criteria for choosing. Is it the average or the style or the circumstances. If Tendulkar comes out on top in this then one starts to see why Cook is bought into this as the England captain has the only career stats in terms of age and prolifc scoring to match the Indian master. If indeed you place Tendulkar no 2 to B'man then maybe Cook has to be evaluated in the same breath as Tendulkar-hence no.2 to Bradman. Is McCullum so far wide of the mark then or just a bit more astute than realised so far? It is certainly food for thought.

  • 2.14istherunrate on March 13, 2013, 16:38 GMT

    There are many ways one can evaluate Bradman vs the rest. For starters I would look at Bradman vs contemporaries of whom there are two English contemporaries: Hobbs and Hammond. Other Australians night include Trumper and Ponsford. He was seen as better than all of these. Then there was the West Indian Headley. It was not just about the average but the certainty with which he played. But Headley had to invoke comparison in the first place as the @Black Bradman',so he was not completely outclassed while in the case of Hobbs there were many things which might point to a near equality such as HObbs' ability on a stickty dog, but contemporary sources w9ould indicate that in general the Don was regarded as the best. Obviously these viewers had it easy cp to later commentators. In Austrslia Harvey then Chappell.G were seen as Australia's second best,and more recently Ponting.Other post war players need to be considered too-such as Hutton, Weekes, Pollock, Sobers, Barringto, then Richards..

  • jplterrors on March 13, 2013, 16:22 GMT

    @cpt Meanster, yep Bradman had said that abt Tendulkar but by the time Cook came on 2 the scene Bradman was dead. Its gd tactics from McCullum tho (the games greatest wk-bat) as we all know Pete Fulton and Hamish Rutherford are way better then Cook.

  • on March 13, 2013, 16:19 GMT

    @Cpt. Meanster: had you actually bothered to read beyond the first paragraph of my post, you would've ascertained that, far from touting Cook as an all-time great, I outlined why I *don't* consider him to be one at the moment.

    I'm glad you introduced Tendulkar into our little tete-a-tete, though. Here's a comparison of the relative performances of Cook & Tendulkar over the last two India/England series (the 4-0 massacre in 2011 followed by the 2-1 humiliation in 2012-13): Tendulkar: 385 runs @27.5; zero hundreds; HS: 91; Cook: 910 runs @70.0; four hundreds; HS: 294.

    The bottom-line point about Sachin is that when India need him most he almost invariably goes missing. That's why I rate Gavaskar, Dravid, Laxman, Vijay Hazare, Azharuddin & even Sehwag above him in the pantheon of all-time Indian batting greats.

  • bouncedout on March 13, 2013, 16:14 GMT

    Do your homework jonesy2. Cook is clearly the best batsman in the game today.

    The Ashes are coming tick tock....

  • Arun14 on March 13, 2013, 15:51 GMT

    continued.. One can argue that the overall quality of bowling has been poor during Cook's career thus far. Against South Africa, the only attack of note, he averages 40. Other great batsmen have had their failings against a top side too - Richards averaged much lesser in Australia, Tendulkar's record against South Africa is mediocre and Ponting's struggles in India are well known too. In Cook's case, he still has time on his side to rectify this one blemish.

    On McCullum's Bradman comparison - he's only the latest in the line of captains to make the Bradman comparison. Waugh said that about Tendulkar and then Tendulkar himself was guilty of doing this with Jayasuriya. I think it's become fashionable these days. Cook has ways to go but he's best positioned of his era to be regarded among the greats.

  • Arun14 on March 13, 2013, 15:45 GMT

    Cook's in pole position to be regarded as the greatest of the post-Tendulkar-Ponting-Lara era. And along with Amla and Clarke he's right up there with the best of any era. Although Cook's average pales because as an opener he doesn't have as many n.o innings as a middle order batsman, he stands tallest among current batsmen. Look through his scores and you'll find he's made runs against all comers (all nations he's played against) both home and away. He's now the most successful visiting batsman in the sub-continent. He scored over 700 runs in Australia in the Ashes. To put that in perspective, for a visiting batsman, that's next to Wally Hammond's 905 back in 1929. In the 8 decades since then, only 5 other visiting batsmen have ever scored 600 plus in Australia and none more than Cook. They have all been meaningful runs that have contributed to test and series wins away from home...

  • kaidranzer on March 13, 2013, 15:36 GMT

    Cook is a fine batsman but it remains to be seen whether he can continue this form for the next few years. Remember Gambhir? When he was on song for around 2 years, people thought he was the world's best batsman with no apparent weaknesses. Look where he is now. If Cook continues scoring like this, he will no doubt be one of England's greatest batsmen. However, I think the usual names like Tendulkar, Lara, Ponting, Dravid, Kallis, etc will continue to feature in the list of all-time greats. Finally, I am not a blind-Tendulkar follower. But it seems like there is a trend nowadays to berate Tendulkar and his feats. That, in my opinion, is not the right way to go about it. Tendulkar has and will be the most consistent player ever to play cricket and hence the greatest. No comments on Bradman because aside from his stats, I know nothing about his game. And I doubt many do. "Bradman is the greatest" is more of a style-statement.

  • liz1558 on March 13, 2013, 15:34 GMT

    @ Piyush Dwivedi - For Kallis, you are wrong. He played one Test against Wasim, one against Bond, and a handful against Walsh, Ambrose and Waqar each, when they were well past their '80s and early '90s express-pace best (Kallis made his debut in '95). For McGrath, against whom he did play a lot of Tests when he was at his best, Kallis's average barely got above 35, with only two centuries. Lara and Tendulkar - no doubt were truly great by such standards. Kallis? No way.

  • MartinC on March 13, 2013, 15:26 GMT

    @jonesy2 - given you dont rate him in the top 50 world batsmen can you explain why he averages over 50 in Tests against Australia and over 65 IN Australia? How's it going in India by the way?

  • on March 13, 2013, 15:23 GMT

    That he is in the midst of an amazing run,there is no doubt! If he continues at this rate, he could become one of the greatest test batsman.Another feather in Alistair Cook's cap is that he is also the captain of the England team and his achievements under pressure in the recent past,especially coming back from being 0-1 down to defeat India in its own den is remarkable. But there are several players who are in the race to become some of the greatest test batsmen,including Kevin Pieterson, Michael Clarke,Jaques Kallis and Hashim Amla.Lets just wait and see how it pans out!And we must remember,that every generation has great players waiting to bloom!

  • vaibhavsharma100 on March 13, 2013, 15:20 GMT

    And the normal chatter starts again as to whoz the best bat after great Don. As for Cook's comparison, I think, Amla in his current form is much better than Cook and Cook will have to sustain this form for a long time to be bracketed along with greats like Sachin, Lara, POnting and Kallis. In between, there came so many players who could maintain a phenomenal average for a period of time. Recent example being Hussey. With due respect to Hussey, he is a great player but he is not in the list of all time greats.

    A sign of greatness is not only a good average and quality of scores but also the capability to change one's game and technique when people start finding some weakness in one's game and hence Cook has a long way to go before he can be termed as one of the all time great.

  • on March 13, 2013, 15:12 GMT

    he is certainly greatest batsman england ever produced.What i like most about him is his modesty.You cant simply hate him even if he is destroying your team.He is just like bradman and sachin in that context.

  • Snick_To_Backward_Point on March 13, 2013, 15:06 GMT

    Jonesy2 you guys found replacements yet for your 4 next great hopes? If you haven't, you really should do your homework :)

  • siddhartha87 on March 13, 2013, 14:54 GMT

    Ponting from 2003-2007 was best since Bradman. Tendulkar was a great batsman upto 2000 but since than he is just another good batsman.

  • liz1558 on March 13, 2013, 14:41 GMT

    Brendan is blowing smoke up his backside - it takes the focus away from NZ if he lavishes ridiculous praise on England. He did the same thing when describing England in awe-struck tones as Test heavyweights, or greats or something similar before the first Test. It also means that if NZ get blown away, then they have nothing to be ashamed of. After all, what more could be expected than some feisty resistance against such a 'great' side? He should have gone further and described him as even greater than Bradman.

  • Nutcutlet on March 13, 2013, 14:38 GMT

    @shaunieboy: before you pass off Bradman as just 'of his era', great-before-my dad-was-born type remark, I suggest that you find out a little more about him (I can tell you like history!) Start with tracking his first tour of England in 1930. Your remark is like saying Isaac Newton isn't a great scientist, or Shakespeare isn't a great playwright either because they've been dead a long time. Some people, the truly great in all fields, transcend their era & all eras. Thus, the truly great cricketers probably number no more than twenty at the very most. Bradman, Hobbs, Richards, Sobers, Marshall & Kallis are among them. Tendulkar is just in the 20, IMO. Cook, only just 28 remember, isn't one of them but, IMO, but he has the potential to be so.@armchairjohnny: Good point! Cook has come such a long way since that series, he is now the complete Test batsman, but he wasn't then(2006-07). Never judge a player until he has reached his peak & never pass a final judgement until he's retired!

  • Cpt.Meanster on March 13, 2013, 14:12 GMT

    @Si Baker: Well, Tendulkar is TENDULKAR. Cook is only Cook. Bradman HIMSELF acknowledged that ONLY Tendulkar comes close to him. Cook is a fine player but Tendulkar is a world apart, please don't insult yourself by commenting nonsense. Cook has miles to go before he can even touch the shadow of the Little Master. Do some England fans even understand greatness ? Or should I educate you all ?

  • Clan_McLachlan on March 13, 2013, 14:11 GMT

    Sure, just like McCullumn is the best keeper batsman after Gilchrist. Not!

  • nzcricket174 on March 13, 2013, 14:05 GMT

    Sneaky tactic much used by Strauss. There is no doubt he is a great batsman, who has the potential to become a legend, but his batting is BORING! I left day four of the test in Dunedin three hours early because I was falling asleep. I watched the next few hours at home and fell asleep again.

    Needlessly to say, I never fell asleep when big guns such as Sehwag, Lara, Tendulkar, Ponting, Hayden, etc. were at the crease. There's a difference between being great and being awesome. Now these guys were awesome.

  • on March 13, 2013, 13:58 GMT

    A very good batsmen yes, he´ll end up one of Englands greatest no doubt. To me though he doesn´t really strike fear into the opposition the way a Ponting, Lara, Pietersen or Tendulkar might. For mine he is more in the Kallis, Dravid, Chanderpaul group, you might worry about them but you don´t fear them taking the game away from you in a session or two. One of three world class batsmen in the England team at the moment. Pietersen worries me far more though.

  • on March 13, 2013, 13:56 GMT

    Wow. Not a single outraged comment from spluttering Indian fans berating McCullum for failing to bring Tendulkar into the conversation: surely a measure of how far *his* stock has fallen in the last couple of years.

    Mind games? Not necessarily. Brendon's as straight a talker as either Clarke or Dhoni. Unfortunately, however, he's wrong: what separates current players such as Cook, KP or Clarke from being bracketed as all-time greats is the number of silly dismissals they manage to be involved in. In the last three Tests alone, for example, Cook was ludicrously run out by a direct throw from Kohli during the first innings at Calcutta after failing to ground his bat at the non-striker's end, then stumped in the second innings going down the track to Ashwin in the very first over, while he was caught cutting at Dunedin a few balls after being dropped at mid-off. He'll never be up there with the very best unless & until he manages to significantly reduce his quotient of absurd dismissals.

  • on March 13, 2013, 13:44 GMT

    You would always believe that you wont fall short of a few Indians whose passion & love for Sachin Tendulkar would cloud their logic and understanding of the game.They will always fail in realizing the truth that Sachin always fell short when needed the most and most of his runs weren't as "important" as Lara or in this case Cook. I understand the respect McCullum is bestowing on his counterpart and i believe he is the best batsman by far and considering the added responsibility of captaincy its a remarkable streak and i believe its going to get better.

  • tickcric on March 13, 2013, 13:37 GMT

    In 7 years of international cricket Cook has played 88 tests with 24 centuries & 7243 runs. Tendulkar is 196 tests, 15746 runs & 51 centuries. If the 28 year old plays for another 8/9 years at the same pace he is a genuine threat to Sachin's aggregate runs & centuries in Test cricket... Is he the best after Bradman? Idk, McCullum is doing to Cook what Cook tried to do to Dhoni recently during the ODI series!

  • bumsonseats on March 13, 2013, 13:28 GMT

    to the guys who protested, the piece said read barring bradman

  • on March 13, 2013, 13:25 GMT

    Good point by @Yakka-04. There are no LETHAL bowlers like McGrath, Bond, Akram, Waqar, Ambrose, etc. who cook has batted against. While Kallis, Tendulkar and Lara have played against them. If one was to go and look at the performance of Cook against likes of Morkel, Philander and the giant STEYN, then we get a good reflection of how good he really might be. See this: http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/series/534190.html He scored 195 runs in 6 innings against SA at HOME, scoring 1 hundred and averaging about 32. Whereas KP scored 219 in 4 innings, averaging almost 55. So, lets not argue about him being the BEST EVER until he really is tested by QUALITY bowling!

  • on March 13, 2013, 13:22 GMT

    @ Rally_Windies Has Lara got any world cup? Has Lara ever scored 200 in ODI?

  • bumsonseats on March 13, 2013, 13:20 GMT

    apart from current players hes right up there. but you have to wait till retirement. but i would expect him to average 3 x 100 minimum per year, and bat for another 6/7 years minimum which would put him close to 50 x 100s and averaging just about 50. this is for an opener not batting in the 3.4.5 positions. so some could laugh but he bats at the sharp end. is he great no, but hes getting there.

  • on March 13, 2013, 13:16 GMT

    This is an exaggeration to say the least. Cook is a very fine batsman, but there is no way that he's the second greatest batsman of all-time. There have been plenty of batsman over the years who were better than Cook. I doubt if he's even the best at the moment.

  • onebump on March 13, 2013, 13:15 GMT

    Statistics are great. But there should be other ways to compare players too. Cricket is entertainment.

    How much would I pay to go watch an innings by Cook, Tendulkar, Lara, Sanga, Ponting.... etc... Cook - £20 a ticket.... Lara £300.... others somewhere in between! Lara was the best I have seen.... i will even pay more for a Sehwag innings that 10dulkar!

  • cloudmess on March 13, 2013, 13:08 GMT

    I think McCullum's comment was genuine praise - but perhaps also a sly attempt to put a little undue pressure on his opposite number. I think Cook's reaction is about right - recognise what he's done, but don't overpraise him, not yet. Although not a great stylist, he has excellent concentration, and excellent fitness, too, which allows him to bat hour after hour. He also has the humility and self-awareness to know his limits, and to know where to work at his game. If he continues his form, he can probably take his place among England's less-glamorous pantheon of great openers - alongside the likes of Herbert Sutcliffe and Geoff Boycott, which is high praise enough. The former, after all, still has the highest average for any English batsman in history.

  • on March 13, 2013, 13:07 GMT

    Sachin is the best in modern cricket he brings glory to the game and sportsman ship as well.cook is nothing but hype....concentrate on odi,t-20 formats...no one has time to watch boring test matches.

  • china_cricket on March 13, 2013, 13:06 GMT

    mind games, is all. keep calm.

  • Apocalypse_EX on March 13, 2013, 12:52 GMT

    Definitely the best opener right now and one of the 5 most in-form batsmen too. He's only 28 so he is aprroaching his better years too! Truly has a chance of becoming a great. But remember what comes up must also come down.

  • Rally_Windies on March 13, 2013, 12:47 GMT

    @satishchandar

    anyone who is a top order batsman who is lucky enough (not good enough) to play 180Tests ....

    can break ALL of Sachin's records ......

    Sachin even with nearly 200 Tests - cannot come close to ANY of Lara's records ...

  • Fluffykins on March 13, 2013, 12:40 GMT

    I am sure that a captain of McCullum's calibre has worked out that mind games with Captain Cook is right up there with sledging Trott in the waste of time stakes. Cook is proving to be an excellent captain and first rate opener,so maybe this is indeed what he believes.....

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on March 13, 2013, 12:28 GMT

    It's amazing how stats 'never lie' for some scenarios, but are so rubbish for others in a lot of people's minds.

    IMO, Stats alone cannot be used as a measurement of greatness in cricket. Cook is good now; Bradman was great then. End of.

  • satishchandar on March 13, 2013, 12:19 GMT

    Well.. It is a too high statement to make. May be just to keep Cook in awae before the game. They called England as Test giants before the first game. Now naming cook as best after Bradman. Certainly Cook can be there when he manages another 10 years of career in tests. If Cook is the best after Bradman, He must be the greatest ever English batsman to have played the game which not many would agree that easily. He is a very very good batsman and has the potential to break the unmatchable records by Sachin.

  • Harlequin. on March 13, 2013, 12:16 GMT

    Loving the reaction to this!! McCullum says 'at the moment he's as good as anyone bar Bradman', which has somehow morphed into 'he's as good as Bradman, has been for his entire career, and will remain as good as Bradman until he retires'.

  • Usman_Jilani on March 13, 2013, 12:15 GMT

    With all do respect, what is McCullum thinking? They are about to go into the second test and he's praising Cook. This can destroy NZ's hopes of winning the series. Leave the praising to when the Test series is done and dusted.

    Besides, Cricket has come a long way since Bradmans times and no player can be compared. Yes Bradman was the best at his time, but who knows how he would perform in todays game. Same goes with the batsman of the present time on how they would perform in the next 20 years as Cricket is always evolving.

    Usman

  • Lmaotsetung on March 13, 2013, 12:07 GMT

    Here is a list of openers who are above Cook in terms of aggregate runs...Hayes, Taylor, Greenidge, Cowdrey, Langer, Atherton, Boycott, Sehwag, Hayden, Smith, Gooch, and Gavaskar. Of those mentioned how many played as opener throughout their whole career? If Cook plays another 80 test matches (which isn't that far fetched) and averages 40 from here on end, he'll be past 13,000...so to the person who doubts he'll be an all time great, I'll take that bet anytime, any day!

  • whofriggincares on March 13, 2013, 11:59 GMT

    Very very good batsmen, but time will tell if he is among the greats at the end of his career. truth is against strong attacks his record is bordering on mediocre. Against south africa he averages 40 good but not great , against Pakistan it is 36. Against Australia pre 2010 his average was 24 ( back when he had to face McGrath who had nearly every english batsmens measure) he has done extremely well against the aussies since I admit. I wonder what a back to back ashes series against a strong pace attack will do to his average? Only time will tell I guess. Lets be honest the benchmark for any batsmen is to average above 50 even players who will never be mentioned in the same breath as the DON have averaged over 50 opening , Gambhir , Sehwag and katich come to mind.

  • jmcilhinney on March 13, 2013, 11:55 GMT

    I think that McCullum is getting a bit carried away. Cook is an excellent batsman and is very likely to be remembered as great from a statistical perspective when he ends his career. Bradman is obviously head and shoulders - probably waist too - above everyone else but I don't see any specific reason to assume that Cook will end up being remembered as the best of rest. Right up there, yes, but not necessarily standing apart from the other greats.

  • MaheshVenkat on March 13, 2013, 11:43 GMT

    @ Chris Page: at least 1 - Sunil Gavaskar.

  • big_al_81 on March 13, 2013, 11:27 GMT

    Several people on here have got it right. It's just mind games. mcCullum feels it may have contributed to England's horrible complacency last time and is worth another go. Not a bad idea. That said, Cook's the best opener in world cricket by miles and his average since the world T20 is an extremely impressive stat given all his cricket has been away from home!

  • inefekt on March 13, 2013, 11:26 GMT

    @Chris, at least five, maybe six of those were openers. That includes the likes of Hobbs, Sunny and Hayden. At the peak of their respective careers, all of the aforementioned players averaged in the high 50's with Hobbs eclipsing the 60 mark near the end of his test career and Hayden almost getting to 60 in the middle of his. Sunny's peaked at around 58 which is probably more impressive considering he was regularly facing the likes of Holding, Garner, Marshall, Lillee, Imran, Hadlee, Botham et al. Cook is getting into his peak years and hasn't pushed his average above 50 yet. What bowlers is he facing on a regular basis? Steyn, Philander and..........well, not much else I'm afraid. Against them he averages 40 with only two centuries in 11 tests. He did face McGrath and Warne in the early days but, even in the twilight of their careers, they managed to cut his average from 51 to 43 in one Ashes series. Some people need to get a grip.

  • shaunieboy on March 13, 2013, 11:16 GMT

    Oh Im so fed up with the Bradman thing, are we ever going to get over it? Yes of course he was an incredible player , probably head and shoulders above anyone playing at the time, but it seems to me that whoever came along and played the game they would never be as great as "The Don" . We are all aware of the uncovered pitches and supposed superior bowling attacks, but I think sometimes perspective in this whole thing is lost. By all means admire and have opinions, but lets not place god like status on a man who wasnt even playing in a lot of our lifetimes. It also detracts from so many other fine players from over the years!

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on March 13, 2013, 11:12 GMT

    Well noticed Brendon McCullum: Cook is the universally-acclaimed best Test Opener in the world. He's also the English captain and shows he's not afraid to face the first ball of any innings, unlike some captains who refuse to take on this level of responsibility. To some he's known as 'Mr 766', to others simply Chef or Captain Cook: what we can all agree on is his magnificent record will stand the test of time.

  • jacoblrfc on March 13, 2013, 11:05 GMT

    As an Englishman even i disagree with Cook being compared to Bradman. No one will ever get near Bradman, and i find it hard that anyone could disagree with that. Although Cook is a remarkable player, to average virtually 50 as an opening batsmen is very impressive. Plus the fact that he doesn't play regularly on "roads" like the one recently being played on in Galle between SL and Bang.

  • first_slip on March 13, 2013, 10:48 GMT

    You must be joking Brendon....lol

  • Mitty2 on March 13, 2013, 10:44 GMT

    Nothing else but mind games. It is interesting, when mccullum did this before the first test talking up England as a team.. It seemed to work, with England having a relatively poor performance. It will be interesting to see how cook performs in this test with this statement from mccullum

  • Justinvp on March 13, 2013, 10:34 GMT

    ha ha ha.... we had "Ball of the Century" by the great Shane Warne and now.... "JOKE OF THE CENTURY" by McCullum.

  • Munkeymomo on March 13, 2013, 10:34 GMT

    @armchairjohnny: Someone made the point that if everyone bowled like McGrath these days, he would average 35-40 odd. A fair point, but then not many people would average above 25 if EVERYONE bowled like Pidge. The bowling point I agree with,bowlers of today are nowhere near the standards of the 90s/early 00s (barring Steyn/Philly/Anderson obviously). He has scored big on some pretty poor batting pitches though.

    Definately agree he can be somewhat tiresome to watch sometimes.

  • Jayzuz on March 13, 2013, 10:33 GMT

    He's right up there with Finn, who got 50 on the same track.

  • on March 13, 2013, 10:23 GMT

    How many of the 39 men above Cook on career averages were openers? The top 40 is almost exclusively guys who've batted at 3 4 or 5, so the the quality of Cooks career is a step ahead of what the statistics alone show.

  • Jamil.hasan on March 13, 2013, 10:18 GMT

    McCullam is out of his mind, Comparing Cook with Bradman is a disgrace,...Cook is a good batsman who is in form though......

  • ozwriter on March 13, 2013, 10:17 GMT

    and world no.1 hashim amla

  • notgburns on March 13, 2013, 10:03 GMT

    It's OK, jonesy, don't worry, the Aussies are the best. Wait? What? Oh, never mind.

  • garibaldi on March 13, 2013, 9:58 GMT

    I wonder if McCullum is playing a bit of a game here - remember how before the last test he was bigging England up as "giants" - and look what happened on the first day! I think he's hoping for a duck from Cook tonight...

  • ChrisKOTW on March 13, 2013, 9:53 GMT

    And to think that Cook has scored most of his runs on the so-called "evil bowlers pitches" in England that have been too difficult for so many other current top batsmen, and of course he has 7-8 years left of his career to score even more.

  • jonesy2 on March 13, 2013, 9:48 GMT

    fantastic mind games from baz but he went too far with it hahaha but not a bad tactic. funny aswell. in reality he isnt even in the top 50 of most talented batsmen in the world and behind players that arent even playing regular test cricket

  • armchairjohnny on March 13, 2013, 9:44 GMT

    I remember How poorly Cook batted against Mcgrath in the 0-5 ashes series. At one stage, Mcgrath was sledging him: "where do you wanna get caught out this time mate? 1st slip, 2nd slip or 3rd slip?". Mcgrath got him the very next delivery. Cook is obviously a good batsman, but he, and other batsmen of this current era undoubtedly have inflated averages due to flat pitches and mediocre bowling standards. Cook may well go on to 'pass' many records in the game but I doubt he will be hailed as an all time great. Even in recent times, defensive batsmen like Kallis and Dravid had far better techniques than Cook and were more enjoyable to watch. Comparing Cook to Bradman is simply absurd.

  • armchairjohnny on March 13, 2013, 9:44 GMT

    I remember How poorly Cook batted against Mcgrath in the 0-5 ashes series. At one stage, Mcgrath was sledging him: "where do you wanna get caught out this time mate? 1st slip, 2nd slip or 3rd slip?". Mcgrath got him the very next delivery. Cook is obviously a good batsman, but he, and other batsmen of this current era undoubtedly have inflated averages due to flat pitches and mediocre bowling standards. Cook may well go on to 'pass' many records in the game but I doubt he will be hailed as an all time great. Even in recent times, defensive batsmen like Kallis and Dravid had far better techniques than Cook and were more enjoyable to watch. Comparing Cook to Bradman is simply absurd.

  • jonesy2 on March 13, 2013, 9:48 GMT

    fantastic mind games from baz but he went too far with it hahaha but not a bad tactic. funny aswell. in reality he isnt even in the top 50 of most talented batsmen in the world and behind players that arent even playing regular test cricket

  • ChrisKOTW on March 13, 2013, 9:53 GMT

    And to think that Cook has scored most of his runs on the so-called "evil bowlers pitches" in England that have been too difficult for so many other current top batsmen, and of course he has 7-8 years left of his career to score even more.

  • garibaldi on March 13, 2013, 9:58 GMT

    I wonder if McCullum is playing a bit of a game here - remember how before the last test he was bigging England up as "giants" - and look what happened on the first day! I think he's hoping for a duck from Cook tonight...

  • notgburns on March 13, 2013, 10:03 GMT

    It's OK, jonesy, don't worry, the Aussies are the best. Wait? What? Oh, never mind.

  • ozwriter on March 13, 2013, 10:17 GMT

    and world no.1 hashim amla

  • Jamil.hasan on March 13, 2013, 10:18 GMT

    McCullam is out of his mind, Comparing Cook with Bradman is a disgrace,...Cook is a good batsman who is in form though......

  • on March 13, 2013, 10:23 GMT

    How many of the 39 men above Cook on career averages were openers? The top 40 is almost exclusively guys who've batted at 3 4 or 5, so the the quality of Cooks career is a step ahead of what the statistics alone show.

  • Jayzuz on March 13, 2013, 10:33 GMT

    He's right up there with Finn, who got 50 on the same track.

  • Munkeymomo on March 13, 2013, 10:34 GMT

    @armchairjohnny: Someone made the point that if everyone bowled like McGrath these days, he would average 35-40 odd. A fair point, but then not many people would average above 25 if EVERYONE bowled like Pidge. The bowling point I agree with,bowlers of today are nowhere near the standards of the 90s/early 00s (barring Steyn/Philly/Anderson obviously). He has scored big on some pretty poor batting pitches though.

    Definately agree he can be somewhat tiresome to watch sometimes.