(Alastair Cook being awarded the CBE by Prince Charles)
If any cricketer could have “elegance” as his middle name, it would undoubtedly be Alastair Cook.
Cook was recently awarded the honorary post of Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE). Let’s take a quick look at his career till now to understand why he is not a wrong pick for this recognition.
The erstwhile captain of the English cricket team is undeniably a strong candidate who can break Sachin Tendulkar’s record of being the all time highest Test run scorer – this in spite of being an opener facing hostility from pumped up new ball bowlers who are always in their best form in the first morning of the first innings.
This also in spite of the fact that he has played more number of his matches in England where the ball just swings by batsman without them realising.
Wearing the captain’s cap of a cricket team has its responsibilities, but the weight of that responsibility is multiplied several times with expectations of uncontested success every time he steps onto the field because he is not just a captain – he is the captain of the cricket team of the very nation that invented the sport itself!
Call him boring, dodgy ,or uninteresting if you will, it doesn’t change the fact that he is the best left hander batsman after Sourav Ganguly (again him).
A captain who is also an opener is the toughest job in cricket. Ask Graeme Smith that.
Firstly, you are going to face those hostile deliveries from the likes of Mitchell Johnson, Dale Steyn, Mitchell Starc, and Mohammad Amir.
Secondly, you need to set a platform for all those incoming batsman to flourish.
Thirdly, it becomes even more difficult when you know that you are the best batsman in the whole of Europe (Joe Root needs to prove more).
Fourthly, being the captain, one constantly has to be alert of ways to counter the moves of your opponent.
Lastly, you need to back your own game up with a performance that sustains the selectors’ faith in you, as well as sustain your teammates’ respect for their leader.
Alastair Cook’s record shows he has ticked all the five boxes.
He has led England in 59 Tests – a significant feat for a country which has been playing Tests for a little over a century.
He has played in 140 test matches (till now) which is already the most by any Englishman.
He has more than 11,000 Test runs in his kitty, and still counting.
Alastair Cook’s captaincy always raised mixed feelings – there have been times when, under his leadership, England seemed invincible (2013 & 2015 Ashes at home), and at other times, England looked vulnerable (in 2013 whitewash against Australia in Australia).
Sometimes under him England answered critics resoundingly (after winning the Final Frontier India in 2012 following a gap of 28 years) right after taking over the captaincy reins from Andrew Strauss.
Sometimes under him England was left searching for salvation(two months ago in Bangladesh & India).
Cook has done his time as a remarkable captain in international cricket, and now fans will watch his magnificence in playing the part of a batsman only.
– by Ankit Doshi