As England took a 2-1 lead in the four match test series against India, Alastair Cook has shone for the visitors. Here are a few reasons why England’s captain is so good.
Cook’s patience is one of his main assets. His ability to open the batting and fend off ball after ball and then punish when the bad ball comes along. His performance in the second innings in the recent seven wicket victory of India shows why he doesn’t play the shorter forms of the games, but his performance in the first innings set up the convincing victory.
His ability to handle the pressure at the top of the order is a huge bonus for England. No matter if England are batting first or following a big first innings score, Cook will always play the same. The Ashes test of 2010-2011 at the Gabba where England were 221 runs behind Australia’s first innings total. Having batted first and with an innings defeat looming, Cook hit an outstanding 235 not out to draw the test.
…his form not so long ago was not so good…
His concentration is vital. When opening the batting Cook sees off the new ball and allows others to play around him and get big scores. His opening partnerships with Andrew Strauss were vital when England were on their way to becoming the number one test team in the world. Their concentration at the top of the order, seeing off opposing fast bowlers where the ball nips around was a vital platform for England to build on.
Cook’s mental strength is one that is needed by an opener. As good as his form is lately with scoring five centuries in his first five test matches as captain, his form not so long ago was not so good. In 2011 Cook suffered a slight dip of form. He scored 1, 2 and 5. His technique was questioned. Cook answered his critics in the next innings with a knock of 294.
…He is a real team player…
When Cook goes out to bat he plans to lead by example. He is a real team player and plays for the cause. He does what’s best for the team and doesn’t let individual statistics get in the way.
If Cook continues to play the way he has, many more records could be in sight. He’s already scored the most test centuries by an Englishman with 23. He is the youngest batsman to score 7000 test runs. At 27, he has the potential to be one of the all time greats.