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Last Updated: Friday, 18 May 2007, 10:53 GMT 11:53 UK
Cook comes back to the boil

By Anna Thompson
BBC Sport at Lord's

Alastair Cook
Goochy is always saying every time you get a hundred, make it bigger - make it a daddy

Alastair Cook
As England's weary troops headed back from a failed World Cup adventure in desperate need of a rest, one player was quietly going about his business in county cricket.

Free from any mental scars resulting from the underwhelming performance in the Caribbean, Alastair Cook was soon into his stride.

He made a century in the seasonal curtain-raiser representing the MCC against county champions Sussex at Lord's and in three subsequent Championship matches he played for Essex, he scored another hundred and averaged 58.8.

But with all the talk ahead of the Test series against West Indies about Michael Vaughan and Andrew Flintoff's fitness battles and Marcus Trescothick's possible return to the England fold, everyone seemed to have forgotten about Cook.

He is, however, a player who has done everything which could have been expected of him - and more - since making his Test debut in March last year.


Cook became the fastest England batsmen to score 1,000 runs and in doing so became only the second batsman, after Australia's Mark Taylor, to reach the milestone in his maiden year in Test cricket.

Not even the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Brian Lara or Ricky Ponting achieved that feat.

Now, after scoring his fifth Test century in only 15 matches on the first day against West Indies at Lord's, he could be destined to become one of England's greatest openers, such is his appetite for runs.

"Lord's has been a good ground for me and hopefully it will continue," he said.

Until the start of the week, Cook had not been part of the England set-up since he flew home after the final Ashes Test in Australia at the beginning of January.

He averaged less than 28 in that series and technical frailties were exposed by veteran bowler Glenn McGrath but he was one of only three England players to score a century in the series when he made 116 in the third Test at Perth.

Graham Gooch
Former England skipper Graham Gooch is Cook's Essex mentor

Cook did not mince his words when he told how England players had "gone through hell" during the Ashes and spoke of the hurt caused by the 5-0 defeat.

But while the one-day squad toiled in the West Indies, Cook used his time wisely and rebuilt his confidence with the help of England and Essex legend Graham Gooch and Andy Flower, who has since joined England as assistant coach.

"It was great to be away from the spotlight and work on my game. It's as much mental as working on technical aspects. It's all about decision making," said Cook.

"It also meant I had time to catch up with friends and get on with my life away from cricket because when you are playing so much cricket, it can drag you down a bit."

But with pressure on for places at the top of the order, Cook knows he cannot afford to rest on his laurels and nor does he want to.

"Goochy is always saying every time you get a hundred, make it bigger, make it a daddy so that's what I'm trying to do," said Cook.

Unassuming he may be, but if keeps up his current run scoring momentum, that low profile will soon be a thing of the past.

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