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‘A genuine English legend’ – Graham Gooch pays tribute to Alastair Cook

by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

Graham Gooch has acknowledged Alastair Cook’s contribution to cricket by calling him “a genuine legend of English cricket” after the younger man announced his plans to retire from international cricket after the final Test against India at The Oval.

Gooch, a former England captain, has mentored Cook throughout his career, and saw his ward overtake him as England’s record run-scorer in 2015.

Cook made it a point to make “a special mention” in his thank-you note to Gooch, saying he “made me realise you always need to keep improving whatever you are trying to achieve”.

Gooch called Cook “a perfect role model”, adding, “Alastair has been the rock of England’s batting for the last 12 years since he made his debut and while we are all sad to see him retire, we must rejoice in what he has done for our country.

“He is a genuine legend of English cricket. He is a legend not only because of his performances, but, because of his attitude, his sacrifices, the way he has carried himself and the example he has set.

“Alastair is a perfect role model and is the image of the game we want to project. He is a great ambassador for his sport, he is a great person as well as a great cricketer.”

In his 160-Test career, Cook broke a number of records, and Gooch praised him for his commitment. “His record is unsurpassed in terms of runs and the commitment he has showed for every team he has played for and has been a beacon for our sport as a person and as a cricketer,” he said.

“Throughout his career he has developed his game to improve and the results are there for all to see. To achieve what he has in playing 160 Test matches, scoring over 12,000 (12,254) runs and 32 centuries is an incredibly special achievement from a special person.”

Gooch said Cook wouldn’t have been the legend that he is had it not been for his relentless commitment to the sport. “It all stems from being strong of mind, being committed to hard work on his game and focusing on what’s in front of him,” he said.

“He has accepted every challenge and has achieved everything he wanted to achieve so we have to be sad that he will no longer be representing our country, but we must rejoice in the fact he has been a rock for us for 12 years.

“To be a successful sportsman, it is not just about the skills or talent, it is about hard work, commitment and desire. All of those parts complete the make-up of you as a person and helps you be successful.

“He has been determined, he has been stubborn sometimes but he is always somebody you can depend on and always the first name on the team sheet.”

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