Former Bedford School pupil and England cricket captain, Alastair Cook will retire from international duties today, ending a career that has produced more runs, more centuries and more half-centuries than any other player from these shores in history. He is also England’s most-capped player in Test matches.
In 1998, Alastair came to Bedford School as a boarder, aged 13. He was a chorister and played the clarinet to grade eight and went on to learn the piano and saxophone. Music soon took a backseat when the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) came to play against the Bedford School XI. The visitors were a man short and Cook stepped in, scoring a century against his new school.
Over the next four years, his stats spoke for themselves, showing early promise of what he would go on to achieve in the game. 17 centuries and two double-hundreds to total 4,396 runs at an average of 87.90, captaining the cricket team in his final year under coach Jeremy ‘Boris’ Farrell, as well as being President of the Music Society. In his final year at Bedford in 2003, he scored 1,287 runs for the school, including two unbeaten double-hundreds, averaging 160.87 to take the school record. Cook returned for an Old Boys’ match at Bedford in 2008, playing – unsurprisingly – for the Head Master’s Ultimate XI.
The school commented: ‘Alastair has been, and continues to be, a true inspiration to everyone at Bedford School. He is, without doubt, a shining example of true sportsmanship, great leadership, personal fortitude and conviction. We are so proud of him and all that he has achieved.’
Alastair Cook’s send-off at the Kia Oval today will be an understated affair. He will receive a 2006 bottle of vintage Bordeaux to mark the year of his Test debut by Surrey County Cricket Club and there is likely to be a guard of honour. As someone who famously shuns the limelight, Cook has requested that the farewell remains as low key as possible.
Join us in looking back over some of his incredible achievements:
- Captain for 161 Tests – more than any other England Captain.
- Ashes victories in 2009, 2010-11, and as Captain in 2013 and 2015.
- Captain for 92 One Day Internationals – another England record.
- First player to score a century at every Australian Test ground: 116 Perth 2006, 235* Brisbane 2010, 148 Adelaide 2010, 189 Sydney 2011 and 244* Melbourne 2017.
- Youngest player (from any country) to score 7,000, 8,000, 9,000, 10,000 and 11,000 runs in Test cricket.
- Youngest Englishman to score 2,000, 3,000, 4,000, 5,000 and 6,000 Test runs.
- Most Test centuries by England skipper, surpassing Graham Gooch’s record of 11.
- England’s most capped player in Tests, surpassing Alec Stewart’s record of 134.
- First England cricketer to be involved in 50 Test wins.
- Most Test runs for England (broke the record at 8,901 runs).
- First captain worldwide to score a century in first five Tests.
- Most Test centuries for England (broke the record at 23 centuries).
- England’s record partnership in Australia, world record partnership and innings at The Gabba (329 with Jonathan Trott, 235 not out).
- Only Englishman (second worldwide) to score 1,000 runs in maiden year.