Former England captain Alastair Cook has played with some of the greatest batsmen of the modern era during his illustrious career. Cook, who is himself regarded as one of England’s best Test batsman and who started his Test career with a stunning hundred in India in 2006, has played against the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Brian Lara, Ricky Ponting, Rahul Dravid, Kumar Sangakkara, and Jacques Kallis and many others. He broke numerous records before retiring from England in 2018.
And among all the greats that he played with or against, cook rates former West Indies opener Brian Lara as the best. Cook, who recalled a tour game where he was mesmerized by Brain Lara supremacy during a tour to West Indies with the Marylebone Cricket Club. Lara, who is the only batsman to score 400 in a Test inning, had retired after scoring 11, 953 runs in 131 Tests and 10, 505 runs in 299 ODIs.
Cook, who is England’s highest run-scorer in Test cricket with 12472 runs in 161 Tests.
During a Q&A session with the Sunday Times, cook recalled a 2004 tour game where the legendary West Indies batsman had scored a century in a session to leave him awestruck.
Cook said to Sunday Times, “I was part of an MCC team that played West Indies at Arundel in the first match of their 2004 tour.”
He added, “We had a decent bowling attack – Simon Jones, Matthew Hoggard, and Min Patel, all of whom were England players.”
He said, “Brian Lara scored a century between lunch and tea which made me realize I was witnessing another level of batsmanship altogether. It was a genius at work.”
He further named four cricketers who he believed came close to the genius of Lara. England’s all-time leading Test run-scorer said that former Australia skipper Ricky Ponting, Sri Lanka great Kumar Sangakkara, and South Africa’s Jacques Kallis were some of the players who were close to Lara. However, he didn’t name Sachin Tendulkar on the list.
He said, ‘The ones who came close to that when I was playing for England were Ponting, Kallis, and Sangakkara.’
He then named one current batsman who he thinks can match Lara’s strokeplay. The former cricketer named current India skipper Virat Kohli as the player close to Lara for his ability to score freely across formats.
‘Now you would have to put Virat Kohli in that group, especially for his ability to score so freely in all three formats,’ he concluded.
Virat Kohli is widely regarded as the best batsman in the world right now. He is the only batsman to have an average of over 50 in all the three formats of the game. While he has amassed 11, 867 runs in 248 ODIs with 43 centuries, the second most and at an average touching 60. In Test cricket, he has scored 7,240 runs in 86 matches at an average of 53.62 and with 27 hundred. In addition, he has scored 70 international centuries so far.