The heat was on Alastair Cook. Another failure, another defeat and his career would have well been over. There was an axe hanging right above his head, and all public scrutiny was on him.
Yes, the person in discussion here is none other than England’s all-time leading run scorer Alastair Cook. With 11 innings of mediocrity and not having crossed a half century, critics were calling for Cook’s head and the Boxing Day Test was under severe observation. Amidst severe spotlight and observation Cook stood out for his patience, grit and sheer determination.
His marathon knock of 244, where he carried his bat against Australia was an absolute spectacle as he didn’t just record a personal milestone, but made sure England had a great chance of winning, despite the second highest scorer of the innings being just 25% of Cook’s score.
Heaping praises on Cook was England’s former skipper David Gower. In his column for cricket.com.au, Gower remarked Cook as a modern day great and was in complete awe of him.
“Your talent as a batsman then becomes the sum of those parts and up to a point you can judge those talents by the resultant figures so that Cook, with 11,956 runs in 151 Tests and as an English opening batsman with all that that entails averaging 46.52, is a great player,” wrote Gower.
“At the end of it all one is what one is and it was a joy to see that Alastair Cook, having only days earlier being forced to defend himself in that same modest way of his against rumours that his career was fading fast, was able to let his bat do the talking at the MCG. To be honest, his bat often speaks better than he does and again he would not mind me saying that,” Gower added.
Gower concluded by mentioning that it was worth to try leg-spinner Mason Crane for the final Test at Sydney.
“So, one Test to go and there is still a chance that the scoreline could match my prediction of 3-1 Australia. For that to happen, England might well decide that Mason Crane’s leg breaks are worth a go at the SCG. If that is the case I will be fascinated to see how he goes through one should temper expectations given that two months of net bowling and drinks carrying is not the best preparation for a Sydney Test.”