Alastair Cook reveals run scoring aim

April 26, 2018

Former England captain Alastair Cook has had a curious last year, but he is in no doubt about his need to score big runs for the team this summer. 

Any England fans who only managed to go to the Edgbaston Test last summer - where he made 243 against the West Indies - and Melbourne last winter - when he carried his bat for 244 - might be forgiven for thinking he was in the form of his life, enjoying his most golden spell since the 2010-11 period, another occasion where he made a double century at Edgbaston and another down under. 

The reality, however, is somewhat different. Those marvelling at the sureness of his footwork and the timing of his straight driving at the MCG might have wondered if this was the same player who had been so tentative up to then on the tour - and who subsequently resumed his struggles in the new year at Sydney and on the two Tests in New Zealand. 

At a time when there is still widespread debate about whether Mark Stoneman is the answer to the long-running search for Cook's opening partner, the former England skipper himself has inevitably come under scrutiny. And he has admitted that he could be dropped if he does not perform. 

Speaking to BBC sport, he admitted "you can't live on past glories and stuff", admitting the selectors will be "in their entitlement to [drop me] if I don't score runs."

"This winter, for whatever reason, I haven't managed to score the runs I'd like… if you play long enough you have periods where you don't score runs. That's the game of cricket - I'm not that good that you're like Don Bradman and you score runs all the time and you cruise your way through life. I've always had to work hard for my runs."

Fans booking corporate hospitality for the Edgbaston Test between England and India this summer may recall not just Cook's score against the West Indies last year, but also his 294 against the Indians in 2011. 

The latter match was one when England knocked India off the top of the Test rankings, which may happen again this year, albeit without the home side replacing them. Instead, South Africa would return to the top. 

England's ascendancy in 2011 came during a golden spell for Cook, who had made over 700 runs in Australia the previous winter and had also made two centuries against Sri Lanka earlier that summer.

However, this prolific period, when Cook's output really was like Bradman, came after a torrid 2010 in which he had struggled against Pakistan's pace attack in bowler-friendly conditions.

As a result, there was widespread speculation that Cook would be dropped for the 2010-11 Ashes. Instead he averaged 127 as England won the urn down under for the first time in 24 years. 

The winter may - Melbourne aside - have been very different for Cook and he will start the summer facing Pakistan's pace attack in challenging conditions again. But having shown in the past that form is temporary, a man who now has 12,028 Test runs clearly still has the hunger to prove once again that class is permanent. 

Image: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images from Keith Prowse subscription

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