Image courtesy of: Zimbio
Former Australia left-arm seamer Mitchell Johnson has lavished praise on England opener Alastair Cook, calling him “a champion”.
Cook retired from international cricket after the fifth Test against India at The Oval last week, and finished his career with England in style as he scored a magical 147 in his final innings.
Johnson and Cook have faced each other in many competitive Ashes series over the years, and the Australian left-armer could not help but make a joke about the 33-year-old.
“I thought he was going to retire a few years ago, he’s not at his best,” Cook, while laughing, told the International Cricket Council.
However, Johnson admitted that he has a lot of respect for everything Cook accomplished throughout his illustrious international career, which includes being England’s highest run-scorer in Test cricket and the fifth-highest run-scorer in the longest format.
“He’s just shown what a class act he is. Scores a hundred on his debut, scores a hundred to finish off his career,” Johnson said. “He’s still only young, but he’s played a lot of (Test) cricket, some 160-odd games, I think. Cooky, he’s been a champion.
“I’ve always had the utmost respect for him as a player and a person. Off the field, he’s just a genuinely nice guy. Also, on the field, always a tough competitor. A typical Test cricketer.”
Johnson pointed out that Cook always knew when it was the right time to attack and when he had to go on the defensive.
“He knew there were periods he had to block and let go, and really dig deep,” he said. “Moments when he had to attack, and he did that on his own terms, played the game the way he wanted to play it and never let anyone tell him otherwise. Didn’t listen to the critics and just enjoyed himself.”
On a more humourous note, Johnson added: “He never really sweated as well, so that was quite annoying at times, when you’re out there and you’re bowling to him 30-plus overs and he’s just pasting you all over the place. Yeah, he was a great competitor and I wish him all the best in the future.”