Have to put him in that group: Alastair Cook names India batsman who can match Brian Lara’s genius
Former England captain Alastair Cook has played with some of the greatest batsmen of the modern era. Cook, who is himself regarded as one of England’s best Test batsmen, has played against the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Brian Lara, Ricky Ponting, Rahul Dravid, Kumar Sangakkara, and Jacques Kallis just to name a few. But the former opener considers legendary West Indian Brian Lara as the best.
Cook who is England’s highest run-scorer in Test cricket with 12472 runs in 161 Tests, recalled a tour game where Lara had scored a century in a session to leave him awestruck.
“I was part of an MCC team that played West Indies at Arundel in the first match of their 2004 tour,” the former England captain said in a Q&A with the Sunday Times.
“We had a decent bowling attack — Simon Jones, Matthew Hoggard and Min Patel, all of whom were England players,” added Cook.
“Brian Lara scored a century between lunch and tea which made me realise I was witnessing another level of batsmanship altogether. It was genius at work,” said Cook.
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Cook named four cricketers who he believed came close to the genius of Lara, who retired with 11953 runs in 131 Tests and 10505 runs in 299 ODIs.
Cook named former Australia skipper Ricky Ponting, Sri Lanka great Kumar Sangakkara and South Africa’s Jacques Kallis among former cricketers.
‘The ones who came close to that when I was playing for England were Ponting, Kallis and Sangakkarra,’ England’s record run-scorer added.
Cook, who captained England in 59 Tests, named only one current batsman who he thinks can match Lara’s strokeplay. The left-hander lauded India captain Virat Kohli for his ability to score in all three formats of the game.
‘Now you would have to put Virat Kohli in that group, especially for his ability to score so freely in all three formats.’
Virat Kohli averages over 50 in all three formats of the game. He has already scored 11867 runs in 248 ODIs with 43 centuries – the second most and at an average touching 60. In Test cricket, he has notched up 7240 runs in 86 matches at an average of 53.62 and with 27 hundreds.