How Alastair Cook and James Anderson first became friends

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As Alastair Cook waved goodbye to international competition on Tuesday, his teammate Jimmy Anderson became the most successful fast bowler in Test cricket history.

England defeated India by 118 runs in a dramatic final day which saw Anderson bowl Mohammed Shami to claim his 564th career wicket, to break the record previously set by Australia's Glenn McGrath.

After the game, Cook stated his close friend Anderson was one of the best English players of all-time.

"He's an incredible athlete, an incredible bowler," Cook told Test Match Special. "He is the best cricketer that England has ever produced."

There were some very emotional scenes between the pair once the final wicket was taken, further emphasising how close they have become over the last decade.

However, they weren't always the best of friends and in fact didn't get off to the best of starts.

In February 2006, Cook and Anderson toured with England A in the West Indies when the two would be called up to join the senior team in India.

Anderson replaced for Simon Jones, who had damaged his left knee, while Cook covered for Michael Vaughan, who had injured his right knee.

Although they had already spent a fortnight together the two had not actually said a single word to each other, and now they were sharing a flight from Antigua. When Anderson sat down, Cook looked at him and boldly broke the ice by saying: “The last time we met, you called me a c**t,” as per an article written in The Guardian two years ago.

First Test Net Practice

This had stemmed from a championship match between Essex and Lancashire. The previous week Cook scored 214 against an Australian side in a two-day game, and Anderson later said: “We thought he had a bit of arrogance about him.”

“I can’t tell you my first impressions of him, because he called me everything under the sun,” Cook said. 

"The only words he had said to me for two years before then were swear words.” Now they had two days of travel ahead, to Nagpur via London. Cook remembered: “And I was thinking: ‘This is going to be an interesting 48 hours.’

They were both critical parts of England's most successful team

As Anderson mumbled an apology and told Cook he treated every batsman in that way, the two discussed the possibility of playing in that Test series and grew a bond from there.

Cook and Anderson would not actually play in the same team until later that year, during the first match of the 2006-07 Ashes but since then they have gone from strength to strength.

Although Cook has raised his bat for the final time in an England shirt, Anderson show little sign of slowing down and confirmed his intention to play on for at least a couple more years.

England cricket
James Anderson (cricket)

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