Alastair Cook has been a champion for England: Mitchell Johnson

Cook retired from international cricket earlier this month.

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Alastair Cook of England
Alastair Cook of England celebrates reaching a century. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

Former Australian paceman Mitchell Johnson has hailed England’s Alastair Cook as a champion and has also called him ‘a great competitor’. Cook, who mainly represented his country in the longest format, recently retired from international cricket at the end of the Test series against India. Although he struggled to score runs throughout the first four matches, the veteran scored a brilliant 147 in his final innings in front of a packed Oval. Cook bowed out with a whopping 12,472 runs in Test matches, averaging over 45.

Left-arm paceman Mitchell Johnson faced off against Alastair Cook on 19 occasions during the Ashes. Cook also holds a strong record against Australia, having scored a total of 2,493 runs against them at 40.20. But what remains his masterpiece against the arch-rivals Down Under is his prowess with the bat during the 2010-11 Ashes tour. The left-hander scored runs aplenty, including an unbeaten 235 in Brisbane as well as a 189 in Sydney. Cook finished the series with a staggering 766 runs at an average of 127.66 and helped his team win the series.

However, Johnson showed his class in the following Ashes edition where he dismissed Cook on numerous occasions. He also bagged the Man of the Series award and the prestigious Compton-Miller medal. Speaking to the ICC in a recent event, Johnson said, “I thought he (Cook) was going to retire a few years ago, he’s not at his best. But he’s just shown what a class act he is. Scores a hundred on his debut, scores a hundred to finish off his career.”

He is a genuinely nice guy

“He’s still only young, but he’s played a lot of (Test) cricket, some 160-odd games, I think. Cooky, he’s been a champion. I’ve always had the utmost respect for him as a player and a person. Off the field, he’s just a genuinely nice guy. Also, on the field, always a tough competitor. A typical Test cricketer,” the former Aussie said.

On what made Cook a cricketer par excellence, Johnson added, “He knew there were periods he had to block and let go, and really dig deep. Moments when he had to attack, and he did that on his own terms, played the game the way he wanted to play it and never let anyone tell him otherwise. Didn’t listen to the critics and just enjoyed himself.”

The 36-year-old admitted that England‘s opener was annoying at times with his style of play for the opposition and also went on wish him best for his post-retirement life.”He(Cook) never really sweated as well, so that was quite annoying at times when you’re out there and you’re bowling to him 30-plus overs and he’s just pasting you all over the place. Yeah, he was a great competitor and I wish him all the best in the future,” Johnson concluded.

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