Although he’s recently joined the elite 10,000-run club in tests back in 2016, and became the youngest ever to achieve the feat; it seems that not everyone is totally backing English opener Alaistar Cook. One of them is none of other than former Australian captain Steve Waugh. The Aussie legend believes that the lefty is beyond his prime now. Cook has been phenomenal against Australia in tests. Only Sa hin Tendulkar (1,212 runs) has scored more than he (1,288). Cook shocked everyone by scoring an astonishing 766 in the 10-11 Ashes held in Australia.
Despite the record books firmly in Cook’s favor, Waugh isn’t convinced he’s (Cook) still got it. Waugh said, “Cook will have a tough series, particularly against Mitchell Starc. He’s still a very good player but I don’t think he’s the player he was a couple of years ago. Having said that, he knows how to make runs and he’s got an amazing record. But against (Mitchell) Starc and (Josh) Hazelwood and (Pat) Cummins, they’ll really test him out. 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 defended himself by saying Cook hasn’t faced quality bowlers for a while now: “The last 12 months, he’s faced some attacks that are nowhere near the potency of this Australian attack, particularly on quicker wickets. He has the know-how and he’s got the muscle memory and he knows he can score runs against anyone. But 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. Australia will really focus in on Cook and Root at the top of the order, if they can knock those guys out cheaply than it does expose the middle order.”
Apart from Cook, Waugh gave his verdict on Ben Stokes; the controversial all-rounder still suspended following his Bristol brawl fight in September. He said,“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. You want to test yourself against the best and in some ways it becomes a little bit hollow if you’re not beating the best opposition side. You can only deal with what’s put on the park, but it’d be a shame if he doesn’t come”.
Waugh concluded, “The crowds would have enjoyed it, he would have got back into the crowd, there would have been a few verbals maybe a bit like Stuart Broad on the last tour. Ian Botham used to cop it. There’s always one English player that comes in for a bit of stick and we might have to pick another player now if Ben Stokes doesn’t turn up.” The 2017-18 Ashes begins November 23 in Brisbane.