'Record-breaker' Cook's captaincy duties helping him to be better batsman
The responsibility of being the captain of the England Test team has helped Alastair Cook evolve into a better batsman, and is one of the major reasons behind his record breaking success of late, according to cricket correspondent Scyld Berry.
Cook scored his third consecutive century against India in the ongoing series on the second day of the third Test match in Kolkata.
"Alastair Cook deserves to be the man who broke the England record for the most Test centuries, which, while equalled, had not been surpassed since 1939 until a warm if smoggy evening in Kolkata," Berry wrote in his column for the Telegraph.
"When he had made his debut for England, in Nagpur six years ago, he had immediately evoked the Cardus dictum on Hammond's contemporary, Herbert Sutcliffe, another calm, indeed suave, opening batsman: 'he gives Utility feathers to preen.'," he added.
"Cook back then was strictly functional or, if the ladies prefer, handsome in everything he did except bat," he wrote.
Berry further added: "Now, however, the captaincy and extra confidence have increased the fluidity of his strokeplay. When he went down the pitch to drive Ashwin for six, he could have been Sir Garfield Sobers, so full was his followthrough."
"And some of the cover-drives that he has played in this series deserve the epithet of nothing less than handsome. Cook is bending his front knee into the cover-drive - where the stroke used to be little more than an extension of a stiff and upright prod," he wrote.
"In place of rather rigid vertical lines he has acquired curves, like a girl growing into a woman. Or, if England's senior spinner will allow, the ugly duckling has turned into a swan - with a new national record to preen his feathers," Berry concluded.