Calcutta: Former captain Graham Gooch, now England’s batting coach, and team director Andy Flower have lavished praise on Alastair Cook.
All richly deserved, one may add.
Cook, the current captain, is living a dream in the ongoing Test series. With scores of 41 and 176; 122 and 18 ..; an unbeaten 136, he’s lifted his team after the heavy defeat in the opening Test.
Speaking briefly to The Telegraph at Taj Bengal on Thursday evening, Gooch said: “Alastair’s in the midst of such a phenomenal run... He’s very organised and sure about his game... You need to back yourself and he’s been doing that...
“I’ve always maintained that the years between 27-35 are, usually, the best for a batsman... Alastair’s 27 and has years in front of him.”
Gooch added: “Alastair has quickly become the Englishman with the most Test hundreds (23)... Soon, he’ll be the highest run-getter (a record held by Gooch himself) and go well beyond.”
Cook began with a hundred on debut (in Nagpur, 2006) and has become the youngest to score 7,000 runs in Test cricket. Stunning, whatever the yardstick.
While Cook may not be driven by records, he sure is setting them alright.
Flower, who has captained Zimbabwe, was as effusive during a one-on-one: “I don’t know what to say... Cook’s been sensational... He’s such a strong character with exemplary commitment.”
Commitment, obviously, is a key element for the toast of England.
Under the weather for the past few days, Cook’s innings definitely made Flower feel better.
Footnote: Strangely, India’s team management sent fielding coach Trevor Penney to tackle the media. If coach Duncan Fletcher didn’t want to come out, preferring to be safe in the dressing room, bowling coach John Dawes should have faced the music after a poor day.