Alastair Cook has finally decided to renounce the captaincy position after leading his side for a record 59 tests. He is an assiduous servant for English cricket, who like many other things he does, did everything he could, to lead England with utmost honesty and spark for four years. There are not many adjectives that are often ascribed to the man cook is, but there is hardly any columnist in English cricketing circuit, who would have any qualms about the man’s sheer grit and mental toughness.
He has never been the most technically gifted batsman of his generation, but that grit and indomitable character, has paved the way for him becoming the first English batsman to reach out to 10,000 test runs. He has always tried to reflect the same in his captaincy, making sure that neither the demons not the exuberance ever shrouds the attitude of the mighty England in the next game or series. He has lead his side in 59 games, won 24, lost 22 and drew 13.
Now these numbers may not be the most predisposing captaincy records, but looking into the intricacies, one understands the harrows that have been pass mustered. The most prominent of them has been the continuous scrutiny that one has to go through from the British media. They absolutely take no prisoners, when it comes to highlighting the loopholes and are quickest to suggest alternatives. Continuously rebuffing all those negative comments, and still managing to go out there and do your work, infusing confidence in the dressing room and the management, is no small feat.
What makes Cook’s stint as a captain more revering is because apart from being captaining the side, he opens the innings for England. Records suggest that he has scored 4844 runs as England Captain. Now doing that as an opener in English conditions, is not everyone’s cup of tea. He has had his highs and lows as the captain of the side, but it’s the sense of pacifism that he injects in the side, to be able to do the go on , no matter what ,is something that his successor Root can take a leaf from. He has lead England to 2 Ashes victories in 2013 and 2015 respectively. Cook also can happily look back to his tour of South Africa in 2015-16, where the English managed to outplay the host in couple of matches, clinching the series 2-1. But it was the series way back in 2012-13 against India, which proved the mantle of his bat and regime in World Cricket. He simply wouldn’t give up!!!He was the most disciplined against the Indian spinners in their own backyard, as the man exemplified perseverance, toughness and uncanny indomitable nature. He finally made the hosts stoop over for all his efforts and clinched a remarkable 2-1 series win over The Indians in India, something that is not very common in recent years.
But the coin has flipped for captain cook more than he would like to remember. They were made to suffer against the brute pace of Mitchell Johnson and were battered as they lost ashes 4-0 against the Aussies. They were surprisingly made to bow down to the Spirited Lankans, as the men from the islands clambered to a 1-0 series victory. The men from Sub- continent have managed to gnaw the English, at their home ground with the Pakistanis this time drawing a spirited test series 2-2. They even were made to dance upon the bouncers of Ishant Sharma, who bent his back and took India to a memorable test win against the England at Lords. It was finally the Test Series against Indians in India that sealed his fate as captain, as the England were made to bleed throughout the series finally losing it 4-0.
He has been knocked down on the carpet, for far longer than he would have wanted to, but its this spirit of always finding his feet and knocking the blow when its required the most , has what taken him to lead his side in more tests than anyone else. He was only 3 short of being the most successful captain for his nation in test cricket, and could have easily used the series against The Africans and West Indies back home, to achieve the envious feat. But the man and the servant cook has been for the English Cricket, he acknowledged the ennui that 4 years of captaincy brought to him and made sure Root gets enough sun in summer before facing the staunchest of test in the winters against the Aussies. He could only be lionized for this gesture and the character he has shown. Thus we at Essentially Sports would like to congratulate “Mighty Cook” for the journey and wish that he comes up with those epitome of perfect test knocks on most of the occasions.