Legendary English batsman and former captain, Alastair Cook will never march out to bat in international Cricket again. His fairytale of a 33rd Test hundred will be remembered as his last. A reality, we the fans have been trying to digest, accept and move on. These twelve years were not just about his much-celebrated career or his distinguished retirement. Perhaps, there’s more to it.
“I have given everything and there is nothing left in the tank”, admitted Cook in his retirement note last week. True, his form wasn’t as great at it used to be around three-four years back. Alastair Cook was looked up to as someone who’d go past Sachin Tendulkar’s record of most Test runs. He quite evidently didn’t. Not even close. The form went down, the runs dried up. The day he announced his decision to retire, many gave acclamation to it being the correct decision. As it was high time and there wasn’t any match winning performances.
Maybe his tank has nothing left for the long run but for all he had left he made sure it was delivered in his Final inning. By the end of Day 3, he was not out on 46. He had already scored 71 in the first innings of the match which was his penultimate. He was 75 runs away from going past Kumar Sangakkara’s record of 12400 runs. His first 46 runs that came off the last session of Day 3 had seemed to be a bit shaky.
The turn of events on the following day was rather spectacular. Day 4 at The Oval was witness to Alastair Cook weaving a fairy tale out of his final stride in the England jersey. Every delivery that he faced was acknowledged with standing ovations from the crowd. His maneuver was celebrated with cheers and applause, all throughout his innings.
Nervousness, anticipation, and excitement spread like an epidemic when Cook was batting in his nineties. Records that were already established by him by the time he reached the score of 90: A batting average over 45, Fifth highest run-getter in Tests, Highest run getter amongst left-handed batsmen.
At 96, he took a single off Ravindra Jadeja’s delivery in the 70th over of England’s innings. An overthrow from Bumrah made sure Cook reached his thirty-third ton in a unique way. The overthrow fetched him four extra runs, a total of five. Before anyone could realize the legend had reached his hundred, Cook fashioned his way into a distinctive club. Only four players before him have scored a Test century on both – debut and final matches.
“Ever since my retirement has been announced, I suppose you hope you have a good week. To top it off with a score here is just incredible. Sometimes dreams come true,” said an emotional Cook. His final innings came to end with him scoring 147 from 286 balls for the last time in England whites. It couldn’t have been scripted better, a tale that will remain etched in our hearts forever.
England captain Joe Root joined as the second centurion of the enormous innings. He declared the innings when England were on 423 for 8, setting a target of 464 for India. By the end of Day 4, India were struggling on 58 for 3 in 18 overs.
England’s greatest in the modern era say the numbers
Twelve years ago, a 21-year-old Alastair Cook stepped out to bat at Nagpur in November 2006 against India on his debut Test. Little did the cricketing world know that in the coming years, many of the Test batting records will be prejudiced. And it didn’t take long as, by the end of that Test Cook’s finesse was all evident as he registered a hundred in his second innings. He scored 60 and 104 in his first Test match.
Since his debut, he has been breaking and owning most of the English Test cricket records. He has been at the top of all batting record charts for English batsmen for a while now. After achieving it all, Former English captain Alastair Cook will be finally calling it a day.
|Tenure||Matches||Innings||Runs Scored||Highest innings score||No. of Hundreds|