London, Oct 19 (IANS) Former England captain Graham Gooch has heaped praise on current skipper Alastair Cook, calling him the best opener in the world following the latter’s marathon Test innings of 263 against Pakistan. Cook smashed 263 runs in 836 minutes in his side’s first innings in the first drawn Test. Scored in reply to Pakistan’s 523/8 declared, it was the longest ever innings by an Englishman and the third longest in Test history. “
It was one of the great innings. Cook has always been very mentally strong, his concentration and application have always been there from a young age. Cook is the premier opening batsman in world cricket and has been for a number of years. He’s been playing for nearly 10 years but he’s still only 30,” Gooch was quoted as saying by BBC on Sunday. The 62-year-old, who worked as England’s batting coach between 2012 and 2014, further said:
“The best years for a batsman are from 25 to 35, with the really premium years probably from 27 to 33, so he is right in the middle of his best period.” Cook is already England’s record run-scorer in Tests with 9,593 runs from his 120 matches at an average of 47.49, having passed Gooch’s previous record of 8,900 earlier this year. “He should go well past 10,000 runs and really, the world is his oyster. I don’t think he will have any problems fitness-wise. The only question is whether you can retain your mental stability, that drive and hunger. That tends to go first and then there is the danger you get burnt out,” Gooch said.