Cook can dish up 40 test centuries, says Edrich

LONDON, (Reuters) – India’s Sachin Tendulkar and  Jacques Kallis of South Africa are the only players to have  amassed 40 test centuries and former England opener John Edrich  believes Alastair Cook has all the tools to join the pair at the  top of the batting tree.

Alastair Cook

Cook is only 26 but has accumulated 19 hundreds including a  mammoth 294 during the third test in Birmingham this month as he  helped England to a 4-0 series whitewash over India.

“There’s no limit to what Alastair can achieve,” Edrich told  Reuters in an interview. “There’s no reason why he can’t go on  and score 30 or 40 centuries if he stays fit.

“I have been very impressed with him. I think someone (in  the coaching staff) has got through to Alastair recently and  told him, ‘Once you get in you stay in and you don’t play so  many rash shots’.”

The comparisons between Cook and Edrich are endless, both  being run-hungry, left-handed openers with a limited range of  strokes, although the stocky 74-year-old acknowledged that Cook  was a lot taller than him.

Tendulkar has 51 test hundreds to his name and Kallis 40.

Edrich was also a prolific run-getter during his 77  appearances for England between 1963-76, making 5,138 test runs  at an average of 43.54 including 12 centuries.

“Alastair just collects runs and collects runs and that’s  the job of an opener,” he said.

“You have to take the shine off the ball, then go on and  capitalise on what you’ve achieved in the first couple of hours.  He has done that very well this summer.

“Early on you’ve got to be prepared to leave balls well  alone outside off stump because they are the danger balls to a  left hander,” Edrich explained.

    BOYCOTT COMPARISON

The former Surrey captain also likened Cook’s approach to  that of his former England opening partner Geoff Boycott, who  compiled 22 test centuries.

“Once Geoffrey got in for a couple of hours it was odds-on  he would get a big score,” Edrich said. “I watched him a lot  from the other end and he played so straight and within himself.

“He knew exactly what shots he could play and he eliminated  the shots he couldn’t play so well. He was great to play with  because it was a case of ‘you’ll get me out over my dead body’  with Geoffrey.
“He eliminated all the risks and collected his runs. Cook is  the same, he knows he doesn’t have to play too many shots,”  Edrich added.

“If you can play two or three shots well that’s all you need  really.”

Edrich has had his share of ups and downs in recent years  and in 1999 he was given a maximum of seven years to live after  being diagnosed with leukaemia.

“After five years of chemotherapy, which was extremely  debilitating, I was advised to consult Dr Stefan Geider at  Camphill Wellbeing Trust in Aberdeen,” he said.

“They specialise in mistletoe therapy as an integrative  approach for patients with cancer. I started with mistletoe  therapy in 2005 and have continued with it for the past six  years.

“I remain in good health and fully enjoy life,” said Edrich  who is organising his first Mistletoe for Cancer UK Golf Day at  the Foxhills Club in Surrey on the outskirts of London on Sept.  28.

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