The mild-mannered, handsome in a Hugh Grant kind of way star of the England cricket line-up began a memorable year on January 7 with the final Test in the Ashes triumph in Australia. Alastair Cook’s remorseless accumulation of 766 runs over the course of the series had demoralised the Australians to the extent that triumphant Poms began to almost feel sorry for them. Almost.
The real test came in the summer though against India. It was a summit meeting of the world’s strongest Test sides, and England emerged with a still astonishing 4-0 whitewash. The England bowlers were superb, the batsmen intransigent. Cook saved his best form for the match when it was needed most.
At Edgbaston Cook defied the despairing India attack to accumulate a steady 294. It is a measure of his restless ambition that his first response at finally getting out was regret that he hadn’t made the triple-century. Then he regretted hitting an undisciplined shot after 13 hours of measuring every ball with restrained precision. Then he finally cam around to the notion that 294 wasn’t such a bad total.
Alongside the even more stubborn Jonathan Trott, Cook gives the England batting line-up an indomitable aspect that is one of the main ingredients of their rise to the status as top Test team.
Cook is the heir apparent to the England captain Andrew Strauss. England fans will hope that he has a couple more years of effortlessly accumulating runs before he has to face the additional responsibilities of captaincy.