England legend Sir Ian Botham has backed Alastair Cook to break Sachin Tendulkar’s records of being the highest run-scorer in Tests after stepping down as England skipper.
The 32-year old resigned from Test captaincy after leading the Three Lions to record 59 matches. And the legendary all-rounder believes that less responsibility can help him pile up runs to such an extent that he can surpass Sachin Tendulkar’s tally.
The England opener, who has scored 11,057 runs so far, is still some good runs behind Tendulkar’s all-time record of 15,921 but Botham feels that his compatriot has got a realistic chance of breaking the Indian batsman’s record.
“Cooky is the one player who has any realistic chance of challenging Sachin Tendulkar’s run-scoring feats and I wouldn’t put it past him to set a global standard for others to chase,” Botham wrote in The Mirror.
“He is still a young man. He has made his last decision as England captain and it may yet prove to be one of his best. He will get a new lease of life as a batsman and be able to churn out more runs than any England player ever thought possible,” Botham said.
Last year, the outgoing England skipper became the youngest batsman to cross 10,000-run mark in Tests, topping India’s Sachin Tendulkar and while he still has some way to go before Tendulkar’s record of highest runs in Tests come into view, he can back himself to break the record since age is on his side.
Tendulkar was 40 when he hanged his boots while the other four leading run-scorers in the game’s history – Ricky Ponting, Jacques Kallis, Rahul Dravid and Kumar Sangakkara – were all 37 or older when they retired. And Cook, who turned 32 a couple of months ago, has surely some good number of years left in him. Moreover, given his penchant for scoring heavily in the longest format of the game, he really holds a realistic chance of surpassing Sachin Tendulkar.