Farewell to England’s humble cricketing hero

Captain fantastic: Alistair Cook captained his country in a record 59 Test matches.

Should we all be more like Alastair Cook? This week, the record-breaking cricketer will play one last game for England. Some say we can all learn something from the great batsman.

“I have achieved more than I could have ever imagined,” said Alastair Cook, as he announced his retirement from international cricket this week. It was a characteristically modest assessment from one of the greatest English sportsmen ever.

The statistics speak for themselves. Across a glittering Test match career he scored 12,254 runs — over 3,000 more than the next best Englishman. His 32 centuries (another England record) include 100s against every single opponent he faced.

But there is more to his story than numbers. Consider the qualities of his play. As an opening batsman, Cook must stare down the world’s fastest bowlers while the ball is at its hardest. Only the patient, mentally tough, and bravest openers survive.

This week fans will see these qualities in action one last time as Cook prepares to play his last England match on Friday.

His retirement was met with tributes from across the cricketing world. Cook’s virtues as a person, not just a cricketer, have been a recurring theme. Former England captain Michael Vaughan lauded him as the “perfect role model”.

Indeed, he has a reputation for good manners and humility. In some ways, he is still the cherubic choirboy he once was at school. His personal life is humble too: shunning the celebrity spotlight of international sport to spend time working on his family farm.

Should we all be more like Alastair Cook?


Not necessarily, some argue. Cook is cautious on the pitch and self-deprecating off it. Life often rewards more flamboyant characters who take risks or speak up for themselves.

Not so fast, others respond. His greatest qualities transcend his sport. We can all transfer his steely determination into our work and studies. Furthermore, his modesty is refreshing in a world that grows ever more individualistic.

You Decide

  1. Is modesty a virtue?


  1. Think about the people in your own life that you look up to. If you could name one person who is your role model, who would it be? What makes that person admirable? How does their example help you in your own life? Share your ideas with a partner.

Some People Say...

“I tend to think that cricket is the greatest thing that God ever created on earth.”

Harold Pinter

What do you think?

Q & A

What do we know?
This week’s Test match against India will be Cook’s 161st for England, leaving him as the most capped England player. Cook is retiring at the relatively young age of 33.
What do we not know?
How long his county cricket career will continue. He has stated that we wants to carry on playing for Essex in the seasons to come. We also do not know who his replacement will be.

Word Watch

Test match
The longest form of cricket. In a Test match both teams bat twice, and the game can last up to five days. Shorter formats of the game can take one day, or just a few hours.
Opening batsman
The two batsmen who are sent out first to face the opposition team. Opening batsmen tend to score less runs then other players as it is normally more difficult to bat at the start of the innings.
Having a modest or low view of one’s importance.
Being innocent in appearance or manner.

PDF Download

Please click on "Print view" at the top of the page to see a print friendly version of the article.