Sir Alastair Cook believes Joe Root will break his record for the most Test runs scored by an England batter.
Root’s match-winning century against New Zealand in the first Test made him only the second Englishman, after Cook, to reach 10,000 runs. Root is 2,457 points behind Cook’s record of 12,472.
“He is a pleasure to watch, the most complete England batsman I have seen,” Cook told newsmen.
“The person who could play the most incredible innings was Kevin Pietersen, but for the most complete batsmen in all three forms, it’s Root. His consistency is incredible.”
Cook was England’s captain when Root made his Test debut against India as a 21-year-old in 2012.
“He was a very good player of spin, as good as anyone. That was obvious to see, even at that young age. He was ready to play international cricket. You knew he could handle the occasion,” said Cook, who played 161 Tests for England.
Root’s 115 not out against New Zealand at Lord’s came in his 118th Test, making him the 14th player in the game’s history to reach the 10,000 mark.
Root equaled Cook’s record for the youngest player to reach the milestone at 31 years and 157 days, and he is the first to do so within ten years of his debut.
“Barring injury, he’ll go miles past my record. He is so hard to tie down. I had to grind my way to 30, it always took me what felt like two hours. Because Joe has got so many low-risk scoring options, pretty much through 360 degrees, he will often get to 30 off 40 balls,” said Cook.
Cook is fifth on the all-time list, which is topped by India legend Sachin Tendulkar, who scored 15,921 runs in 200 Tests between 1989 and 2013.
Root will almost certainly need to play at least 60 more Tests to break Tendulkar’s record.
Given the increased emphasis on white-ball cricket in modern cricket, Root may be the last player with a realistic chance of surpassing Tendulkar.
Cook retired from international cricket at the age of 33, just two years older than Root, but he believes their contrasting batting styles mean Root will have more energy to play Test cricket later in life.
Cook added, “I would never have said I would finish at 33, but the time felt right for me. The mental strain I felt to score runs took a toll on me. I’m not saying it’s easy for him, but he doesn’t seem to have that problem.”