x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Alastair Cook has a long way to go to match Sachin Tendulkar

Andrew Strauss is right to laud his successor as England captain but surpassing the Little Master is a big task.

England's Alastair Cook. Satish Kumar / The National
England's Alastair Cook. Satish Kumar / The National

Andrew Strauss, the former England captain, has generally stayed away from the media since announcing his sudden departure from the game last summer.

He has been in touch with his former England teammates though and last week, in an interview with All Out Cricket, he made some glowing predictions about one of them: Alastair Cook, his successor as captain.

"I think as a batsman he will go on to set records that no one will ever beat," Strauss said. "Cook will go down as England's greatest player ever in my opinion."

Now, Cook is a fine player and easily one of the most accomplished Test batsmen of his generation. But it is a bit early to suggest he will set records that no one can touch, even if we talk about Test cricket alone.

Cook is still only 28, but the distance between him (7,117 runs in Tests) and Sachin Tendulkar is 8,528 runs at the moment. The Englishman has 23 Test centuries to Tendulkar's 51.

Tendulkar has played 166 Test innings more than Cook at present and if the England captain can continue scoring at his current average of around 50 and play 166 more innings, he will still be a few runs short of Tendulkar's tally.

Then, of course, Cook will be playing most of his cricket in England and not India, and there is a big difference between the conditions in those two nations.

So, setting unbeatable batting records, perhaps, might just be beyond Cook. But he will certainly finish among the greatest, not just English but in all cricket history.

arizvi@thenational.ae

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