Alastair Cook had the perfect end to his illustrious batting career when he hit an impressive 147 runs in the second innings of the fifth and final Test against India on Monday.
However, it could all have been so different, with reports that England’s leading Test run-scorer had offered to sit out the final Test due to his poor form with the bat.
Cook undoubtedly had not been scoring at his true potential prior to the last match of the five-Test series at The Oval.
Cook had amassed just 109 runs in the opening four Tests, with a high score of 29 and as a result, believed he had lost his ‘edge’ with the bat.
According to the Daily Mail, offered to sit out of the final Test of the series, leaving national selector Ed Smith with a big decision.
Smith, who only took on the role as national selector in April of this year, asked if Cook still had enough fight in him to play one last time and the opening batsman repaid that faith emphatically.
A score of 71 in the first innings and a wonderfully played 147 in the second, meant Cook became the first English batsman to score a fifty and a hundred in both his first and last Test matches, coincidentally both landmarks also coming against India.
Cook announced himself on the international scene 12 years ago in Nagpur with his first century, and it seemed fitting that he would strike his 33rd and last century against the same opponents.
‘Chef’, as he is known in the cricketing world, put on a third-wicket stand worth 259 with captain Joe Root, to put England in an extremely strong spot heading into the final day and his prestige was shown following his dismissal, with every Indian player lining up to shake his hand before he departed.
All four sides of the ground were on their feet as England’s most capped player made his way back to the pavilion for the final time, a fitting tribute to a glittering career.
Cook will take to the field as an England player for the final time today, with India resuming on 58-3, and it’s sure to be an emotional day for the former captain. He will bow out as one of England’s greats.