Paul Grayson praises Alastair Cook who is on verge of breaking England Test runs record

Alastair Cook

Alastair Cook

Alastair Cook is on the verge of becoming an England record-breaker and Essex coach Paul Grayson could not be any prouder.

The former Maldon Cricket Club player is just 31 runs short of former Essex and England skipper Graham Gooch’s Test record and could surpass that against New Zealand, in the Second Test at Headingley today.

Captain Cook has been much-maligned in recent months, having struggled in the top order, but scored a superb second innings 162 that proved the catalyst for England’s 124-run First Test victory at Lord’s last week.

“I would like to think he will break the record at Headingley and you can’t argue with his record, he’s been top class for many years,” said Grayson.

“Alastair takes a lot of stick from many people but he scored a brilliant innings last week that will have shut one or two people up.

“He’s still fresh, fit and has that hunger. If he stays healthy, I don’t see why he can’t play Test cricket for the next five years or so.”

Gooch amassed 8,900 Test runs for England during a glittering 20-year career but Cook is closing in on the record, having made his debut against India nine years ago.

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“I didn’t think Alastair would break Graham’s record when he came on the scene, but it’s always difficult to tell,” added Grayson.

“Had you asked me who would have gone on to break batting records out of Alastair and Ravi (Bopara) when they were both starting, I would have edged towards Ravi.

“But Alastair knows how to score runs and has showed tremendous strength of character. He loves proving people wrong.”

Grayson said Cook’s career was also a good reflection on Essex.

“That’s the most important thing as a county, to try and produce England players, that’s what we are striving for in the next few years,” he said.

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