Atherton: Why 2010-11 Ashes was not Cook’s best series
ALASTAIR Cook scored 766 runs at an average of 127.66 in the 2010-11 Ashes but it wasn't the finest series of his career, according to former England captain Michael Atherton.
Cook's 2010-11 haul in Australia is the fourth-biggest run-tally ever in a five-Test Ashes series, and the best since Don Bradman's 810 at 90.00 in 1936-37. Nevertheless, Atherton says the left-hander's finest achievement was leading the team to a 2-1 series win in India in 2012.
As captain of the side Cook scored 562 runs at 80.28 and made three centuries across four matches to hand India its first Test-series defeat at home since 2004. The Indians have not lost another series at home since.
"I would say India in 2012," Atherton told Skys Sports when asked about Cook's finest accolade. "It's virtually impossible to win there in the modern game so it was an incredible achievement.
"The last time they went there under Cook's captaincy they were walloped [4-0 in 2016] but the time before they won a four-match series. Cook scored three consecutive hundreds and set up the series beautifully."
Sky Sports Cricket's Nasser Hussain described Cook as England's greatest-ever batsman and while Atherton says it is difficult to rank players from different eras and parts of the order, he says the retiring left-hander will be remembered as one of his country's finest openers.
"It is hard to compare Cook with, say, a middle-order batsman like Kevin Pietersen, who was very flamboyant, a great stylist, quick scorer but he'd be up there as England's greatest opening batsman.
"Every time you go out it is 0-0, the ball is hard and new, the seam is proud and the bowlers and fielders are optimistic and chirpy - it's the toughest place to bat. In the end, there is only so much you can give."