Botham: Cook can surpass Tendulkar’s record

“Cooky is the one player who has any realistic chance of challenging Sachin Tendulkar’s run-scoring feats”

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Legendary England all-rounder Sir Ian Botham believes that Alastair Cook is capable of breaking iconic India batsman Sachin Tendulkar’s record for the most runs scored in Test history.

On Monday, Cook stepped down as England’s Test captain and Botham pointed out that the 32-year-old is now free to solely concentrate on his batting.

While Cook still needs nearly 5,000 runs to overtake Tendulkar, Botham feels that it could happen if the Gloucester native has a strong couple of seasons and stays fit and healthy.

“Cooky is the one player who has any realistic chance of challenging Sachin Tendulkar’s run-scoring feats and I wouldn’t put it past him to set a global standard for others to chase,” Botham wrote in The Mirror. “He is still a young man.

“He has made his last decision as England captain and it may yet prove to be one of his best. He will get a new lease of life as a batsman and be able to churn out more runs than any England player ever thought possible.”

Cook is already England’s highest run-scorer in Test cricket and former captain Nasser Hussain has backed him to keep toppling records.

Hussain also heaped praise on Cook for standing his ground when England experienced a turbulent time in 2013/14, where they were whitewashed 5-0 by Australia in the Ashes before being stunned on home soil by Sri Lanka, which sparked calls for Cook to resign.

“His longevity – an incredible 138 Tests in a row (and counting) … speaks volumes for his dedication and sheer stubbornness,” Hussain wrote in his column for Sky Sports. “I see no reason why, given his near-perfect work-life balance and high level of fitness, that Alastair can’t go on and break even more records.

“Of all his achievements, the most personal was winning the 2015 Ashes after losing 5-0 in 2013-14. English cricket was in absolute turmoil after that whitewash with the nation split over whether Kevin Pietersen should stay or go.

“Cook could easily have taken the soft option and walked away but that’s simply not his style. That 2015 Ashes was his mountain; he put all of his fight and emotion into winning back the urn.”

Ex-England skipper Michael Vaughan added that while Cook did have his fair share of struggles during his tenure as captain, he overcame them and in the process, earned the utmost respect of all of his team-mates.

“He will not go down as one of the great tacticians or movers of the game but he will go down as one of the great captain-batsmen,” Vaughan wrote in The Telegraph. “Whether he was tough enough and ruthless enough is a fair question but that is not his personality and you have to be yourself when England captain.

“He probably will not be in the top five greatest captains but he is one of the greatest men to lead the team. In time he can be more proud of that than anything else.”

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