Captain Cook officially checks in
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It's unlikely that Alastair Cook will invoke unbridled excitement or keep the viewer on the edge of his seat while he is batting. Watching Kevin Pietersen or Virender Sehwag bat can often feel like being witness to an action-thriller. A Cook innings, however, is more like a classic novel. Even the twists and the turns in it never seem too sudden or catch you unawares. Just like he never looks hurried in the middle, the elegant left-handed opener also seems to allow the audience time to soak in the finer and classier elements of his game without ever being in-your-face.
Stodgy or even laborious some detractors might call it. But even his staunchest critics cannot deny the quaint yet unobtrusive exquisiteness that lies in Cook's skills as a batsman. The very skills that graced the Brabourne Stadium as Captain Cook officially checked in with a tasteful unbeaten century against a ragged India A bowling attack.
When he walked to the centre on Wednesday, the 27-year-old would have had his sights set on a lengthy vigil on the placid CCI wicket. He did just that, producing a characteristically compact 112 off 251 balls and helping England finish Day Two on 286 for four, still trailing the hosts by 83 runs. A more perfect warm-up he couldn't have asked for.
A risk-free attitude and an awe-inspiring work-ethic are features that have historically been associated with opening batsmen hailing from Essex. And it's no surprise that both Keith Fletcher and Graham Gooch, scions from the same county, have both played an integral role in Cook's development as an opener.
Just like his mentors, Cook's formula for success too is based around sincere application and trying to be oblivious to circumstance and setting, opposition and pitch conditions. And despite the rest of the top-order looking far from convincing, the opener continued at his own tempo, grinding the India A bowlers to the ground.
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