Saturday 16 December 2017

Cook humbled to be closing in on Gooch's all-time record


Alastair Cook speaks at his press conference at Headingley, Leeds on Thursday (Mike Egerton/PA Wire)
Alastair Cook speaks at his press conference at Headingley, Leeds on Thursday (Mike Egerton/PA Wire)

Alastair Cook admits he will never be in the same class as Graham Gooch, but when he surpasses the "great man" as England's record Test run-scorer he knows exactly how to start repaying him.

The England captain needs just 32 more runs in the second Test against New Zealand at Headingley - which starts today - to go past his mentor's 8,900, and says it will be a strange experience to statistically exceed the man who has helped mould his career since he was a schoolboy.

Cook underpinned England's first-Test success at Lord's with a wonderfully determined 162 - his 27th Test century, four more than any compatriot - as the hosts overturned a three-figure first-innings deficit, and he will not be content with just passing Gooch's landmark.

He said: "I wouldn't put myself anywhere near in his class, but it would be a great moment. However nice it would be - if I do score 30, 31, 32 or whatever it is to pass the great man - that won't be enough for the game.

"If I'm lucky enough to get that, it will be a moment I'll remember.

"But if I am 30 not out, it's important in a game situation I go on and get a big score."

Cook has surely done plenty already to make Gooch proud. But he knows he needs to keep earning the approval of the man who has spent much of his life, since hanging up his playing boots 20 years ago, ensuring Cook and others reach their potential too.

"Certainly, I wouldn't be here without Goochie's help," added Cook. "It will be strange if I do go past him because, without his hard work and his dedication to me and my game, I wouldn't have scored half the runs I have.

"It will be a great moment if it happens. But there will only ever be one Graham Gooch, and he is England's greatest batsman."

England v New Zealand,

Live, Sky Sports 2, 11.00

Irish Independent

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