Andrew Flintoff makes surprise confession about Alastair Cook's England debut

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Football News

For England opener Alastair Cook, 2006 was a special year.

The opening batsman received a surprise call-up to the England tour of India for the first time alongside James Anderson and Owais Shah to replace Michael Vaughan and Marcus Trescothick.

Cook was given the nod straight away and the 21-year-old made his Test debut just days after joining up with the side.

The youngster hit the ground running, scoring a half-century in the first innings before being bowled out for 60 runs from 160 balls, becoming the second top scorer behind Paul Collingwood.

It was the second innings which saw him set the world alight, though, as he went on to clinch a 104 not out - making him the 16th Englishman to score a century on his Test debut.

Of course since then, Cook has gone on to score over 10,000 runs and will undoubtedly be forever grateful to the man who gave him his chance 11 years ago.

Surprisingly, it was his team-mate Andrew Flintoff.

Yes, it was Flintoff who convinced England coach Duncan Fletcher to give Cook the nod.

First Test: India v England - Day One

However, the former all-rounder has this week revealed that he took a major risk on recommending Cook after admitting that he had never actually watched him play before approaching Fletcher.

“Marcus Trescothick went home from India, really fast, nobody knew what had gone on,” Flintoff said on the Flintoff, Savage and the Ping Pong Guy podcast.

“We were looking at people to bring in, Alastair Cook had been around the side, played a little bit against Pakistan on tour, didn’t play and he was in the West Indies on an England day tour and he flew back, about 48 hours getting flights, landed on the morning or the night before the test started and Duncan Fletcher wanted to pick Matthew Prior and I said: ‘no Alastair Cook's playing.’

Third Test - Australia v England: Day Four

“I put my foot down for once, I want Alastair Cook playing.

“He asked why and I'd never seen him play, never seen him play.

“Seen him in the nets, I had a gut feel that it’s a lad of that age at 22 or whatever it was, even maybe younger, he was so impressive and the type of lad I wanted in the side and he went out, the first innings he got four and second innings he got 100, too easy.”

It's no wonder Flintoff's reign as captain was so unsuccessful if this was his selection policy!

India cricket
Matt Prior
England cricket

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