Former England captain Alastair Cook had an illustrious international career. The opening batsman is the highest run-scorer for his country in Test with 12,472 including 33 tons. Throughout his long career, Cook has played with many legendary batsmen of his era from Sachin Tendulkar to Ricky Ponting, Rahul Dravid among others. Cook recently named his five greatest batsmen with which he played during his career.
The former Englishman picked the India skipper Virat Kohli, among the top 5 batsmen he ever played against. However, the left-handed batsmen rated another southpaw Brian Lara as the best batsman he has ever witnessed. The 35-year-old recalled the instance when Lara scored a majestic ton in a tour game against his side in one session.
“I was a part of an MCC team that played West Indies at Arundel, in the first match of their 2004 tour. We had a decent bowling attack with Simon Jones, Matthew Hoggard and Min Patel, all of whom were England players. Brian Lara scored a century between lunch and tea, which made me realise that I was witnessing another level of batsmanship altogether. It was genius at work”, Cook said in a Q&A with Sunday Times.
Cook also named Ricky Ponting, Jacques Kallis and Kumar Sangakkara that came close to Brian Lara. He then went on to add that from the current generation, Virat Kohli was the best he played against. Alastair Cook lauded the Indian captain and said his ability to score in all three formats freely makes him the best.
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“The ones who came close to Lara when I was playing were Ponting, Kallis and Sangakkara. Now you would have to put Virat Kohli in that group, especially because of his ability to score free in all three formats of the game,” Cook said.
Virat Kohli is the only batsman to average 50 in all three formats of the game. The Indian skipper averages almost 60 in ODIs, 53.6 in Tests and 50 in T20I. He is also the only batsman from the current generation that has been the No. 1 rank batsman in ICC rankings in all formats.