England captain Alastair Cook continued his excellent preparation for the upcoming test series against Sri Lanka on May 19 with innings of 142 and 48 not out against Worcestershire and his form could soon reach record-breaking level.
He is currently 36-runs away from being the youngest player in test match history to reach 10,000-runs, and would surpass the record set by Sachin Tendulkar in 2005 when he was 31-years-and-10-months old. As per ESPNcricinfo; Cook has accumulated 9,964 runs at an average of 46.56 - including 28 hundreds and 47 fifties - and it has been five months since his 31st birthday.
He enters the series averaging 130.75 for Essex in County Championship Division Two, having made two hundreds and one fifty in his five innings prior to the match with Worcestershire. On this form and on English soil, against a Sri Lankan bowling attack currently going through a transitional phase, it would be hard to bet against Cook making light work of reaching this milestone.
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Statistics show however that it is unwise to directly compare the two. The first test against Sri Lanka will be number 127 for Cook, and his first innings against them will be his 227th, whereas Tendulkar reached 10,000 runs in 122 matches, and only needed 195 innings. The Indian great was also averaging over 57 when he broke the record 11 years ago.
Another major factor to take into account is the frequency in which test cricket is now played. This has clearly helped Cook, who made his debut in 2006 at 21-years-old, and he has already amassed more matches in a decade than Tendulkar played between his debut as a 16-year-old in 1989, and when he reached the 10,000 milestone 16 years later.
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Tendulkar, after all, will go down as one of the greatest batsmen to play the game and despite potentially losing this record he still has plenty of others to his name. He holds the accolade for the most runs scored in test matches (15,921), and one-day internationals (18,426), and the most centuries scored in both formats (51 and 49 respectively).
Cook should still be lauded for his achievement, though. He will become the 12th player to reach this landmark after Sunil Gavaskar became the first to do so in 1987 and he joins a club of cricketing elite. Brian Lara, Ricky Ponting, Jaques Kallis, Rahul Dravid, Steve Waugh, Kumar Sangakkara, Allan Border, Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Mahela Jayawardene are the others to make the list.
To be mentioned in the same breath as these players is no mean feat itself, and who knows, once Cook has become the youngest player to reach 10,000-test-match-runs, he may set his sights on Tendulkar’s test match total runs record. After all, he has time on his side.