There's a growing thought regarding the England left-hand opener and stalwart Alastair Cook that he is perhaps coming to the end of his great career. Cook's not the same force as he used to be, a perception further reiterated by his recent form. Cook has been going through a really lackluster phase. In the recently concluded Ashes series he failed to put up one substantial score on the board, either side of his marathon innings of 244 in the boxing day test at Melbourne. In the ongoing two test series too, Cook collected only 23 runs across four innings.
The criticism is not something that Alastair Cook hasn't faced up to before. Although, he has never faced questions regarding his game this much till now. Pundits covering the Ashes especially Ricky Ponting was quite vocal about Cook's batting issues. Meanwhile, he has found support in Ex England player Graham Thorpe, who believes there is cricket left in Cook and is backing the "hungry" opening batsmen's appetite for runs to come to the fore.
"I do see a guy who is still hungry,” Graham Thorpe told Sky Sports.
Thorpe was further quoted to Sky Sports, "You can see that from the way he goes about his work in the nets. He’s trying some different things as well, he’s trying to positive when he goes into the nets, and I think we just saw a little bit of that today. We saw a little bit of the freedom he wants to play with."
Although there is a general belief that it is the physical restraint that starts cropping up in great batsmen at the twilight of his reign, I believe, it is the eyes that are failing Cook in this phase. Alastair Cook is one of the fittest English cricketers and is regularly passing the fitness tests, the much talked about yo-yo test too.
Maybe, that's what also gets someone like Thorpe hopeful of Cook's resurgence. Keeping in line with that, Graham said, “Unfortunately, he got a good ball and played at one outside off stump. He was out for a low score but no one is more disappointed than Alastair."
“Over the years we’ve come to know how he operates. We’re always saying he’s just a few hours at the crease away from a big score, so that’s the bit he has to keep in his mind as well.”
Even this Cook would add value to England's test team come the Ashes in 2019 at home. Understanding him, no one will be determined and willing to make the sacrifices required to be ready for that. Cook's not finished yet.