McCullum believes Cook is well on his way to becoming a legend of the game
England captain Alastair Cook has received high praise from New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum, who noted that his English counterpart was on the path to immortalising himself as one of the greatest Test cricketers the world has ever seen.
Despite Cook only making one century throughout the recently concluded three-Test series against New Zealand, McCullum was astounded by the fact that Cook has already scored his 24th Test ton and has etched his name as England’s all-time leading Test century scorer at the age of 28.
McCullum even stated that Cook could go on to be better than anyone to have ever played Test cricket, with the exception of Sir Donald Bradman, whose eye-popping average of 99.94 will highly likely remain unmatched forever.
The next best averages after Bradman are those of Graeme Pollock with 60.97 and George Headley with 60.83.
As of right now, the best average amongst all the players in action is that of Sri Lanka wicketkeeper-batsman Kumar Sangakkara, who boasts an incredible average of 56.98.
“He’s obviously a genius batsman, his record is testament to that,” McCullum said. “Where he is at in his career at the moment, he’s as good as anyone who has played the game, probably barring Bradman.”
Cook was humbled to have been compared to such legends of the game by McCullum and said: “It’s very nice of him to say that. I’m not quite sure where he’s got that from.”
Cook even repaid the favour, commenting on the sheer power McCullum displays when batting.
“You could talk about his genius batting,” Cook said. “The way he hits the ball sometimes.”
Cook’s current Test average of 49.04 puts him at 40th on the all-time list, with Pakistan great Inzamam-ul-Haq in front and England’s very own Denis Compton one spot below.
Some players who are still playing the game that average more than Cook in Tests include South Africa’s AB de Villier and Jacques Kallis, the West Indies’ Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Pakistan’s Younis Khan, Australia’s Michael Clarke, and India’s Sachin Tendulkar.
However, if the averages of batsmen were taken after the conclusion of the International Cricket Council (ICC) World Twenty2o, Cook’s outstanding average of 76.44 places him at third, with only India’s Cheteshwar Pujara and Australia’s Clarke ahead of him.
Despite all these records, Cook continues to remain modest about all his achievements to date.
“You never quite feel on top of the game,” he said. “What was pleasing for me was, after a few starts in the one-dayers here and in India, but [with] no match-winning score, I managed to get that bigger one in the first Test. I seemed to hit the ball okay.”