James Anderson believes he could never have become England‘s all-time leading Test wicket-taker without Alastair Cook’s help.
Cook will retire from international duty after the fifth and final Test against India, that starts at The Oval on Friday.
And pace great Anderson, out on his own in England terms with 559 Test wickets and counting, hailed the former skipper’s impact on himself and those around him.
“He’s probably the most driven person I’ve ever met,” said Anderson, in his column for The Sun.
“His work ethic is phenomenal. He trains harder physically than anybody and works tirelessly in the nets.
“He is an incredible example to everyone and I include myself in that.
“I don’t think I’d have achieved what I have without Cooky, not just as a colleague and captain but as a friend and someone I look up to. I’ve always tried to follow his example.
“As a cricketer, he is the consummate professional. As a bloke, he is down to earth, loyal and caring.”
— England Cricket (@englandcricket) September 3, 2018
Cook has racked up an England record 12,254 runs in 160 Tests, with 32 centuries, and now has the chance to bow out on his own terms, aged 33.
Anderson admitted the England squad struggled to keep emotions in check when the Essex star explained his decision.
“It’s not often that you get a bunch of blokes moved by something,” said Anderson.
“But there were a few lumps in throats on Sunday evening because we’ve all been through so much together. Cooky had to keep his speech quite short because of the emotion.
“I was surprised and sad when he told me in Nottingham.
“But he says he knows the time is right and we all have to respect his decision.”
As Alastair Cook gets ready for his international swansong with, the tributes have been pouring in from all quarters.
Described as the rock of England’s batting by his mentor Graham Gooch, the England opener has played many an innings of note in the span of his 160-Test long international career.
We take a look at five of the greatest innings played by the southpaw.
104 – India v England, Nagpur 2006
It is no surprise to see Cook’s maiden Test century features in the list given the circumstances it was scored in. Following his performances for the England Lions in their tour of the Caribbean, Cook was drafted in as a last-minute replacement for Michael Vaughan in the first Test against India at Nagpur.
The then 21-year-old notched up a 160-ball 60 in the first innings before registering his maiden Test ton in the second innings in conditions completely alien to the ones he was accustomed to at Chelmsford with Essex. In doing so, the left-hander became only the fifth Englishman to score a century and a half-century in his debut Test.
110 – England v Pakistan, Oval 2010
One of the hallmarks of Cook’s England career has been his ability to bounce back from the toughest of situations. During Pakistan’s tour of England in 2010, the opener had only managed just 47 runs from the first five innings and his place in the squad was being questioned.
The turnaround came in the second innings of the third Test at The Oval where Cook slammed a majestic 110 in testing conditions. Despite England losing the match, that innings cemented Cook’s position in the team at a time when murmurs of a potential axing were growing.
294 – England v India, Edgbaston 2011
The Edgbaston Test between England and India was another example of Cook’s ability to bounce back from a lean spell. Prior to the match, the southpaw had only aggregated 20 runs in his four innings.
After England bowled India out for 224 in their first innings, Cook and Andrew Strauss put on 186 runs for the opening wicket before the latter was dismissed. Cook, though, marched on with a chanceless innings of 294. Not once did the opening batsman give any opportunity to the bowlers in his 13-hour vigil at the crease as England declared after a mammoth 710-7.
A maiden triple-ton eluded him after he holed out following his first lapse of concentration but his innings remains the sixth-highest by an England batsman.
190 – India v England, Kolkata 2012
That Cook absolutely loves batting against India seems a distant memory following his struggles in the ongoing Test series but it remains a fact.
Taking over the England captaincy from Strauss in 2012, Cook went on to register three tons in as many matches on the team’s tour of India. In the third Test at Kolkata, the opening batsman was once again unflappable as he piled on 190 runs in England’s first innings. It took a run-out to end his stay at the crease but his knock had ensured victory for the visitors which gave them a 2-1 lead in the series. It was a lead Cook and his men would not relinquish as England completed a Test series win in India for the first time in 28 years.
Cook’s ability to thrive in subcontinent conditions set him apart from many other overseas batsmen. The nine tons he has scored in those conditions is the most by any non-Asian batsman in history.
235 – Australia v England, Brisbane 2010
In the first Ashes Test of 2010-11 at Brisbane, Australia had taken a huge 221-run lead in the first innings. With their backs against the wall, England put up monumental 517-1 in the second innings before declaring.
Cook led England’s reply with an unbeaten 235 which was his second century ton on Australian soil. That was just the start of a prolific series for the batsman who would go on to aggregate 766 runs in eight innings in the series as England won the Ashes Down Under for the first time in over 24 years. That incredible run from Cook included tons at Adelaide and Sydney too.
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10:00pm – India’s Mohammed Siraj continues impressive red-ball run
India fast bowler Mohammed Siraj has been in sensational form with the red ball this season. He has consistently been among the top wicket-takers in the domestic circuit and also in international matches with the ‘A’ team. The Hyderabad pacer is quickly gaining a reputation as a long-term Test prospect and he strengthened that belief with another super effort against Australia ‘A’.
Read more on Siraj’s latest performance against Australia ‘A’ here.
9:00pm – Alastair Cook tributes keep pouring in
Former and current players including the legendary Sachin Tendulkar have all paid their tributes to Alastair Cook after the England opener announced his intentions to retire from international cricket.
As the opening batsman gets ready to wind down his England career, we have compiled a list of five career options he could take to following his retirement. The left-hander’s time with England has coincided with some of the best Test players produced by the country. Find out who makes the cut in England’s best Test XI in the Alastair Cook era here.
8:00pm – Virat Kohli frustrated with India’s inability to finish the job
Virat Kohli lauded the intensity shown by his men in the fourth Test against England at Southampton but the India skipper believes it is imperative for his side to learn the art of finishing the job.
7:00pm – Hasan Ali beats Virat Kohli’s fitness score
Pakistan players underwent fitness tests during their ongoing training camp in Lahore and according to reports, 17 out of the 18 members passed the Yo-Yo test.
Apparently, fast bowler Hasan Ali had the highest score of 20 which makes him one of the fittest cricketers not only in the subcontinent but also world cricket.
Read how the Pakistan pacer’s scores compare to that of Virat Kohli here.
6:00pm – Mentor Graham Gooch pays glowing tribute to Alastair Cook
Graham Gooch has paid tribute to Alastair Cook as “the rock of England‘s batting” and a “great person as well as a great cricketer”.
Cook, who has announced his impending international retirement after this week’s Oval Test, was Gooch’s protege who went on to far surpass even his revered mentor’s record run-making achievements.
Read what Gooch had to say on his protege here.
5:00pm – Pakistan’s Imad Wasim fails Yo-Yo Test
Pakistan left-arm spinning all-rounder Imad Wasim failed to pass the fitness test on Monday and will give another attempt on Tuesday, according to reports from Pakistan.
Read more on this developing story here.
3:00pm- Alastair Cook to retire after Test series against India
England’s all-time record run-scorer Alastair Cook will retire from international cricket after this week’s Oval Test.
Cook, who has made 12,254 runs in a 160-Test career over the past 12 years, issued a statement on Monday confirming the news.
Read more on it here.
1:00pm – Virat Kohli leads run-scoring charts in England-India series
Sports360’s Stuart Appleby takes a look at some of the numbers from the four Tests so far between England and India. India skipper Virat Kohli is currently leading the run-scoring charts in the series with 544 runs in eight innings at an average of 68.
Read more on those stats more here.
11:00am – UAE becoming the centre of the cricketing universe
The UAE is set to become the centre of the cricket universe over the next six months with five different T20 tournaments, a T10 tournament, the Asia Cup and the Australia-Pakistan series taking over cricket pitches in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah.
Read about the jam-packed cricket schedule in the UAE here.