Player Profile and Prediction
by Chris Smith
With the exception of Kevin Pietersen, Alastair Cook has arguably been England’s most consistent batsmen in recent history, with his major problem most recently being converting good starts into hundreds. Cook has always been a fairly limited batsman, with fewer scoring shots than his team mates, but this limited style has brought him success. Cook plays to his strengths and very rarely goes outside of his comfort zone. He is an excellent player of pace bowling and proved this in the Ashes summer of 2005 with a double hundred against the Australians at Chelmsford. He is also a good player of finger spin as his success in India and Sri Lanka show. However, he has sometimes looked a little at sea against good wrist spin. These strengths should arm him well against the Australian team, whose main threat will be pace bowling. Cook’s main weakness is clear for everyone to see, in that he pokes at too many balls outside off-stump and is liable to edge to wicket-keeper and slip. The Australians will be probing away just outside off-stump, particularly Stuart Clarke, to see if Cook fancies a nibble. Cook needs to leave the ball well outside his off-stump and make the Aussies bowl a straighter line to him, which will suit his limited style of play.
Cook is a key player in the series, especially the way the Australian bowling attack looks to be setting up as they all seem to suit his style of play. If he can give England a good consistent start to their innings, this will allow a good stroke making middle-order to play with more freedom. Cook can be the rock around which good totals are set for England.
Cook has only played one series against Australia, and on the whole a disappointing one. However, Shane Warne may have played a large part in this and Australia’s current attack is also lacking Glenn McGrath, Stuart Clarke will be his main threat. Cook should have a successful series and will enjoy the pace of Brett Lee and Mitchell Johnson, a key ingredient to enable England to make good starts to their innings.
Career Statistics (as of 7/12/08)
Overall: Matches: 34 Runs: 2573 Ave: 42.88
Vs Australia: Matches: 5 Runs: 276 Ave: 27.60
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