Image courtesy of: The Guardian
Cook is currently on track to conquer Tendulkar’s fortress of runs
Legendary India batsman Sachin Tendulkar has long been known as the ‘Master Blaster’ or ‘Little Master’ of international cricket, but all that may soon change after flamboyant England batsman Kevin Pietersen issued a warning to the 40-year-old, stating that his Test records are in danger of being toppled by captain Alastair Cook.
As of right now, Tendulkar has scored an unbelievable 15,837 Test runs, with his nearest rival, former and recently retired Australia captain Ricky Ponting, still lagging behind by 2,000 runs.
Cook, 28, has not even reached half of the number of runs Tendulkar has scored, as he has amassed 7,524 Test runs and still needs another 8,000 to topple the ‘Little Master’.
Despite the stark difference in the number of runs scored, Cook has been keeping on track with Tendulkar and Pietersen once again reiterated that Cook is on the path to becoming the best of the best.
“His first series was against India away and we beat India,” Pietersen said. “He’s done exceptionally well, his cricket just keeps getting better and better.
“For me he’s the right man to lead England, he’s doing a great job for us and he will continue to get better and better and break every record anyone’s ever set, certainly in the English game. He’s on target to go for Tendulkar’s numbers, if you look at the numbers and look at his age.”
The South African-born Pietersen also lavished high praise on England’s ‘Golden Boy’ Joe Root after the 22-year-old edged out veteran Nick Compton to open the batting alongside Cook during the Ashes series.
“I never knew of him, I never heard of him, because when you’re on the scene and young players come you just don’t,” he said. “But I knew that he was going to be good when he walked out to bat in Nagpur in his first Test match.”
Root’s 73 on debut against India helped England secure a 2-1 series win, which was their first in the subcontinent nation after a 28-year drought.
“I was batting and… we just didn’t want to let India back into it at all and he walked out and – just his face walking towards me for 20 metres – I thought this kid’s going to be a flipping superstar,” Pietersen said. “It was just the confidence that he walked out to bat with in his debut Test match in India, two spinners bowling, from each end, we’d just lost a wicket or a couple of wickets and he walked out with a smile on his face, and went ‘All right lad, you ok, you’re playing well there.’ And I was like, ‘Mate! I’ve played 90 odd Test matches and I don’t walk out like that.’ But it’s brilliant for English cricket, absolutely brilliant.”
Pietersen also paid tribute towards Root’s handling of the David Warner controversy, in which the 22-year-old was punched by the Australian opening batsman at the Walkabout bar in Birmingham during the Champions Trophy.
“He knew the media were going to be on him all day and he’d had a haircut – he looked sharp! I think he knows how to deal with it,” Pietersen said. “I saw him that day and he couldn’t believe what was being made of it, but welcome to English cricket and welcome to how the media works.”
Pietersen also responded angrily to Wisden’s assessment of his past year, in which they described the South African-born batsman as “arrogant, self-pitying and isolated”.
“I’ve been burnt too many times and it’s just a case of me now concentrating on my cricket and playing my cricket as best I can because that whole situation hurt my family too much,” he said. “I get it all day every day.
“Somebody asked me yesterday, ‘Can you take some constructive criticism?’ I said, ‘Excuse me? You’re talking to somebody who has it for breakfast, lunch and dinner.’ So it doesn’t affect me, it’s water off a duck’s back now. I have absolutely no interest in it but it hurt my family and my best mates.
“You go through rocky patches in every walk of life – business, marriage, as a kid, through your teenage years. In a dressing room not everyone’s going to get on and I know you had altercations in your dressing room.
“I know some other great players who I speak to in other countries when I hear the things that go on in other dressing rooms now and it happens, it’s going to happen. Unfortunately it was quite a famous fall out because of what happened but, no, everything’s absolutely fantastic, we showed that in India the way we got on and played well and beat India in India.
“I just want to get the best out of my talent. I just live for each day, I play each day. I go out and try new things. I’ve got that personality, that impatient personality, that wants to try things, wants to do things, wants to achieve things and I’ll never stop trying.”
The 33-year-old Pietersen also revealed his ambitions to follow in the footsteps of legendary England footballer David Beckham and his wife, Victoria, and get involved in the fashion industry.
“These last three months that I’ve been injured I’ve had quite a bit of time on my hands to sort the business side of life out,” he said. “I am heavily involved in a clothing company and a footwear company in India. I’ve got some different stuff, other things on the horizon that I’m negotiating, talking about and signing off.”