Records may not be over yet for captain Cook

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Football News

Alastair Cook's record-breaking Test career has been a 10-year odyssey already - and no one should be fooled into thinking he is likely to stop any time soon.

Within an hour or so of becoming the youngest batsman ever to reach 10,000 Test runs, and the only Englishman of course, Cook was already working out new targets to sustain his motivation.

He will not be announcing them to the wider world, though.

The England captain admitted to a touch of relief as well as huge satisfaction at reaching five-figures - in unlikely circumstances after his team had to bat again for victory over Sri Lanka at Chester-le-Street on Monday.

They had seemed sure to win by an innings and leave Cook to contemplate and pontificate, at the behest of another pre-match press conference, how he would make the five runs still needed at Lord's next week.

He was thankful to be saved that Groundhog Day moment - and, in the glow of a series-sealing victory and huge personal achievement, he confessed too that the 10,000 barrier had put him off a little at the start of this summer.

That is exactly why Cook will be keeping future goals to himself, even after England coach Trevor Bayliss broke ranks and predicted he may well one day go past the great Sachin Tendulkar on 15,921 to become the world's all-time leading Test run-scorer.

Cook preferred past deeds for his public pronouncements in Durham, and it was fascinating to hear him recall his toughest challenges and opponents along the way.

Most prominent in the latter category were Australia pace pair Mitchell Johnson and Ryan Harris, architects of whitewash defeat for Cook's Ashes tourists in 2013/14.

Plenty further aggravation famously followed, but it was in the middle that Cook recalls some of his most taxing moments - both in that Ashes winter and his first as a novice opener seven years earlier.

"Harris and Johnson were hard, and facing (Glenn) McGrath and (Brett) Lee as a 21-year-old was a good baptism for me," he said.

In between came his outstanding tour Down Under in 2010/11, when England won in Australia for the first time in a generation on the back of his brilliant batting.

Yet 2010/11 very nearly did not happen for him. If it had not been for a hard-earned hundred at The Oval against Pakistan the previous summer, in fact, he might never have got anywhere remotely near 10,000 runs.

Cook was badly out of form, but did just enough to get on the plane to Australia.

"The Pakistan series in 2010 for me as a batter was hard," he added.

"I found it tough. It was an enlightening moment when I went back to my old technique.

"Then as a player and captain, Sri Lanka (in 2014) was hard.

"Forget all the runs. That is my proudest moment ... hanging in through the tough times."

There may yet be more of them, but Cook has proved many times over that he is a born survivor.

True to type, he acknowledges the importance of ambition to give himself the drive for the hardest yards, of fitness training, countless nets and throw-downs with his great mentor Graham Gooch and all the other long hours of preparation no one else sees.

But on the subject of what exactly the future holds, he asks back: "Who knows?

"I never thought I would get 10,000. Now I'll have to have a rethink and set something else personally.

"You need something tucked away to drive you to get up and go running in the morning or bat in the nets with Goochy.

"I am still hungry to achieve stuff."

Ashes revenge Down Under, toppling Tendulkar, winning in India again, setting a career aggregate no one will ever beat?

He may be giving little away. But all are almost certainly on Cook's list, and betting against any is not advised.

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Sachin Tendulkar

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