England Test skipper Alastair Cook has had a wonderful career, which recently crossed the 100-match mark. Cook has to his name 7982 runs in 101 Tests at an average of 46.9 with 25 hundreds and a best of a mammoth 294. While these figures are exceptional in every sense, Cook has been going through a rough patch in recent times, one of the many reasons why England have lost the Ashes urn to Australia. Cook was poor at home as well against Australia, but the other batsmen made up for him. Here’s a break up of Cook’s Test career in four phases.
Tests 1-25: In his first 25 Tests, Cook amassed 1987 runs at an average of 45. The most striking aspect of his career during this period was that he registered as many as seven hundreds so early in his career, a wonderful conversion rate. Cook got a hundred in his very first Test against India at Nagpur. He then got back-to-back hundreds against Pakistan at Lord’s and Manchester. Cook went on to register 116 against the Aussies at Perth, and added two more tons against West Indies during the home series. The most impressive of his knocks came against the Sri Lankans at Galle – 118.
Tests 26-50: In these 25 Tests, Cook garnered 1667 runs at average of 41.6. While the figures were not too dissimilar to the earlier phase, his conversion rate went down rather disappointingly as he managed only three centuries during this period. Two of those came against a weak opponent – 139 not out and 160 against West Indies at Bridgetown and Chester-le-Street respectively. His best knock in his block was 118 versus the South Africans at Durban. Cook got many half-centuries in this period but failed to convert the same.
Tests 51-75: Without an iota of doubt, this was the best phase in Cook’s career. In 25 Tests, he amassed 2373 runs averaging a brilliant 61 with as many as nine hundreds. He was difficult to dislodge in this period as he played some mammoth knocks. While there was a 173 against Bangladesh, he also made that magnificent, unbeaten 235 against Australia at Brisbane. In his very next Test, he made 148 at Adelaide. Even better was to follow as Cook compiled 189 against Australia at Sydney and 133 against Sri Lanka at Cardiff. Towering above all them was that 294 against India at Birmingham.
Tests 76 to 101: Cook has played 26 Tests during this period, and has 1955 runs to his credit averaging 42.5 with six hundreds. These are pretty decent figures, but actually have to be divided into two phases. His tons came during the early phase of this block, including the 176 against India at Ahmedabad and the wonderful 190 against the same opponent at Kolkata, which led the English to a historic Test series win. Since the hundred against the Kiwis at Leeds in May 2013 however he has been ton-less. In his last nine Tests, Cook has crossed 50 five times, but has failed to convert even one of those into centuries.
--By A Cricket Analyst