Ashes 2017-18: Steve Waugh Hints Alastair Cook is Past his Prime
Former Australian skipper Steve Waugh believes prominent England opening batsman Alastair Cook, who has had played an imperative role for Three Lions could face the daunting challenge against hosts in the upcoming Ashes series on bouncier surfaces as the series opener will be played in Brisbane between November 23-27.
“The big question is the swinging ball, if he gets knocked out a couple of times in the first Test match he’ll have some doubts in his mind,” Waugh was quoted as saying by cricket.com.au.
In 15 Tests in Australia, Cook amassed 1,288 runs at an average of 49.53 in 27 innings which include four-hundred and five fifties before facing the challenge of hosts vaunted pace bowling.
The former middle-order batsman Waugh opined the left-handed batsman Cook might struggle against the speedster Mitchell Starc.
“[Alastair] Cook will have a tough series, particularly against Mitchell Starc,” Waugh felt.
Moreover, Waugh remarked Cook would face an acid test against paceman Josh Hazelwood and promising Pat Cummins, who has made a significant return following the rehabilitation programme.
“But against Starc and (Josh) Hazelwood and (Pat) Cummins, they’ll really test him out,” Waugh maintained.
Owing to the prediction, Waugh reiterated Cook is different what he has been ‘couple of years ago’ with the willow for England while adding he has the potential to lead as an example.
“He’s still a very good player but I don’t think he’s the player he was a couple of years ago,” Waugh added.
Waugh, who himself played 168 Tests while donning the white jersey for Australia started Cook has been prolific for England, and he similarly knows how to be on the top of the game when it comes to scoring of runs.
“Having said that, he knows how to make runs and he’s got an amazing record,” Waugh further added.
While focusing on the under investigation all-rounder Ben Stokes, Waugh felt the unavailability of the quality player would certainly add pressure on Cook.
Waugh stated Cook has to show his best in Australia which wouldn’t be that easy as he is bound to score runs to extend the innings.
“He’ll have to be on his best game and for England to do well in this series, he needs to score a lot of runs and occupy the crease,” Waugh asserted.
The all-time highest run-getter for England in Tests, Cook, who relinquished from the captaincy to focus on his batting, as he has enjoyed his run in the five-day format.
As England middle-order seems to be unimpressive at the first look, the big three in the form of Cook, Root and Jonny Bairstow has to shoulder the responsibility – to score the bulk of runs after Stokes is facing the court case.
“You want to see the best teams play in the Ashes series, so I think even as players the Australian guys would have enjoyed the prospect of playing against Ben Stokes,” Waugh said.
In the recently-concluded home season, Cook amassed 572 runs at an average of 44 in seven matches which included four against South Africa and two against the Windies.
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Interestingly, 243 against Jason Holder-led side Windies was his fourth double-hundred in the Test career.
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