By Rob Barnett
Michael Vaughan is sure Alastair Cook will become the leading run-scorer in Tests and thinks the England captain could double the 100 appearances he is set to reach at Perth tomorrow.
In the second part of an exclusive interview with ecb.co.uk - Vaughan rated Kevin Pietersen as England’s best player of all time in the the first - the former England skipper lavished praise on the current Test leader.
Cook, who played under and batted with Vaughan in the early stages of his Test career, is on course to beat Sachin Tendulkar’s 15,921 runs that came in 200 games.
Dependable left-handed opening batsman Cook has hit 7,883 runs during his 99 Tests. Should Cook play 200 and keep scoring around that average, he will pass recently-retired Tendulkar.
Given the 28-year-old’s propensity to stay fit, Vaughan expects Cook - already England’s most prolific Test ton-maker with 25 - to continue toppling records.
“Alastair Cook just doesn't miss any games,” he told ecb.co.uk.
“He's hardly missed a Test match since his debut, and you could quite easily see him getting to that 200 Test match-mark. I've no question he's going to make 150 but, like Sachin, he could get to 200 if he stays fit.
“He's going to be the highest run-scorer of all time, there's no question. He's going to score more runs than anyone else.”
Vaughan likened Cook’s batting to another resilient England opener: Geoff Boycott, who made 23 hundreds and 8,114 runs in 108 Tests.
“I think he's a workman-like, attritional type of player that's made the most of what he's got,” Vaughan said of Cook.
“He's improving all the time. It's not just all about technique; it's about the mind. Visually he may not be the most pleasing of players but I think mentally he's up there with England's greatest ever in terms of wearing the opposition down and making the most of what he's got, and restricting himself to two or three scoring options, which he does.
“In kind with the likes of Boycott, he's the England player that will be able to concentrate the best out in the middle.”
Injury prevented Vaughan from playing in Cook’s Test debut versus India at Nagpur in March 2006.
Having flown in from England A’s tour of the Caribbean on the eve of the match, the 21-year-old struck 60 and an unbeaten 104 to aid a creditable draw.
Vaughan cites that century as among Cook’s best, along with the three tons he compiled en route to 766 series runs during the 2010-11 Ashes triumph.
“His debut hundred is one that stands out for me, and his batting in ‘10-11,” revealed Vaughan, who saw Cook as a future England skipper from early in the Essex player’s international career.
“He was always very confident. I think he's the right kind of personality to be a leader and a captain.
“He's a captain that likes to lead by example and that's what he's done since he got the job. You could always see that he'd go on and be England captain. He's a nice fit for it.”
Cook’s first taste of Test captaincy was leading England to a 2-0 whitewash of Bangladesh when Andrew Strauss was rested during March 2010.
His next came after succeeding Strauss as Test skipper during August 2012, initially leading England to a historic victory in India a year ago before a shared series in New Zealand that was followed by home wins versus the Black Caps and Australia.
“He started incredibly well in India,” Vaughan enthused. “I think he's done a good job; he's solid, you know what you get with him: a great temperament, a great attitude.
“He's wanting to learn all the time and get better, which is what you aspire to do as a player. It's exactly what you should aspire to do as a captain as well. He's only young. To think KP has been around for near on 10 years, he's just got his hundredth cap.”