Sachin Tendulkar’s record of most Test runs and most Test matches played are something (of many!) that put him apart. His absolute awe inspiring numbers of playing 200 Tests and then calling it a day in a splendid career spanning 24 years will leave anyone’s jaw dropped. His Test runs tally of 15,921 with 51 centuries at an average of 53.78 only add to the legend of the Master Blaster and the herculean task it must have been to dismiss him.
There are many more legends of the sport behind him – Ricky Ponting (13,378 runs), Jacques Kallis (13,289 runs), Rahul Dravid (13,288 runs), Kumar Sangakkara (12,400 runs), Brian Lara (11,953 runs), Shivnarine Chanderpaul (11,867 runs), Mahela Jayawardene (11,814 runs) and then comes the only player who can surpass Tendulkar’s record – Alastair Cook (11,568 runs). Only Cook is the player who is still around and playing the sport. And he remains the only threat to Sachin’s record which was set four years back when the Indian batsman played his last against West Indies.
With the current numbers, Cook stands 4,353 runs behind Sachin’s tally and given the England batsman’s propensity to hit the bowlers around, the odds of the total being surpassed don’t look too grim. There are multiple things that go in Cook’s favour – he is 32 years old and comes up to bat at the top of the order. He gave a perfect example of what he can do to mediocre bowling by scoring 243 runs against West Indies in the opening day-night Test at Edgbaston. Further, England play at least 15 Tests in a single calendar year (they played 17 in 2016) which gives lots of room to breach the tally.
Additionally, Cook has his sight firmly focused on Test matches. His last T20I came in 2009 and ODI in 2014. His intention is clear – keep an eye on the longest format of the game. Should Cook play for four or five more years, which is expected given how long cricketers play for, he can quite easily surpass Sachin’s record.