Sir Alastair Cook places India’s Virat Kohli in the league of the legendary Brian Lara

Cook said that the likes of Sangakkara, Ponting and Kallis came close, but none could match Lara's aura.

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Alastair Cook
Alastair Cook of England leaves the field after being dismissed by Ishant Sharma. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

Sir Alastair Cook, the former England cricketer, was once awestruck by a century scored by West Indies’ Brian Lara. It was in a tour match back in 2004 when the Caribbean team locked horns with the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) for whom Cook played. Interestingly, it was the same year when Lara became the first batsman to score 400 versus the Brits itself at St John’s.

In the meantime, during the practice match in Arundel, the Trinidad-born Lara churned out a century between lunch and tea. Seeing the masterclass, Cook found it tough to believe his own eyes. The now 35-year-old Cook was a mere teenager back then and was a couple of years away from making his debut for England.

“I was part of an MCC team that played West Indies at Arundel in the first match of their 2004 tour,” Cook was quoted as saying Sunday Times. “We had a decent bowling attack — Simon Jones, Matthew Hoggard and Min Patel, all of whom were England players.”

“Brian Lara scored a century between lunch and tea which made me realise I was witnessing another level of batsmanship altogether. It was genius at work,” the left-hander quipped.

Virat has the ability to score runs in all three formats: Alastair Cook

Among the current set to batters, Cook, who retired from international cricket on September 2018, said that Virat Kohli could match Lara’s class and aura. Cook didn’t hesitate to place the Indian skipper in the league of the elegant left-hander. “Now you would have to put Virat Kohli in that group, especially for his ability to score so freely in all three formats,” Cook said.

In his career, Cook has played alongside a number of cricketers, but as per him, no one could surpass Lara, though they came close. “The ones who came close to that when I was playing for England were (Ricky) Ponting, (Jacques) Kallis and (Kumar) Sangakkara,” he added.

Cook himself was a stalwart of the Three Lions batting lineup, especially in Test cricket. In the longer format, he managed 12,472 runs in 161 matches with 33 tons and 57 half-centuries. In his last Test against India at the Kennington Oval, he bowed out with a sparkling century.

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