ENGLAND coach Trevor Bayliss expects a reinvigorated Alastair Cook to continue scaling the all-time Test runscoring heights with top-of-the-pile Sachin Tendulkar maybe in his sights one day.
Bayliss senses his Test captain’s renowned appetite for runs has returned at least as strong as ever over the past 12 months.
Cook proved the point, of course, during England’s Investec series-sealing victory over Sri Lanka at Chester-le-Street when he became the first from his country to reach 10,000 runs – and the youngest worldwide.
He beat Tendulkar to that achievement by more than five months, at the age of 31 years and 157 days, but still needs almost another 6,000 to topple the India great as the most prolific Test batsman in history. Bayliss sees “no reason” why that cannot happen.
The Australian gleaned, on his arrival on England’s staff for last summer’s Ashes, that Cook perhaps had for a while been distracted by the aggravations of the previous 18 months.
They included the aftermath of England’s 2013-14 Ashes defeat and the vexed departures of Cook’s fellow record-breaking batsman Kevin Pietersen and coach Andy Flower.
The latter’s successor Peter Moores lasted barely a year in his second tenure, leaving Cook questioning his own future as captain by the time his team suffered series defeat at home to Sri Lanka.
Scroll forward two years and Cook has much to smile about and celebrate albeit having also lost the 50-over leadership over Christmas 2014, before that same winter’s World Cup.
After their third series victory together, and revenge over Sri Lanka, Bayliss gives no credence to any suggestion Cook’s hunger might have lessened.
“It’s probably the opposite,” he said. “Just listening (to pundits) when I first got here, all of the criticism and not necessarily winning as much as he’d have liked was weighing him down a little bit. I think a newer, younger team and winning with that team has given him a new lease of life.
“I hope he can continue for a few years yet.”
He believes Tendulkar’s record may eventually be under threat, given the standards Cook has sustained over the past decade.
“It will be about how long he wants to keep doing it,” he said.
“But certainly there is time on his side.”