Can Cook catch Tendulkar?


Alastair Cook became the 12th man to reach 10,000 runs in Test cricket on Monday - and the first Englishman to achieve the feat.

Still only 31 and, as captain of England's five-day team, very much assured of his place for the foreseeable future, Cook would appear certain to continue his climb up the list of Test run-scorers in the coming years, with Sunil Gavaskar (10,122 runs) the next star name he is set to overhaul.

However, is it realistic to suggest the left-handed opener could one day surpass the legendary Sachin Tendulkar, who sits 2,543 runs clear of Ricky Ponting at the top of the pile?

In light of Cook making it to 10,000 runs at a younger age than 'the Little Master', we crunch some numbers to see if Tendulkar's record is genuinely under threat.



After scoring 15 and 47 not out in England's second-Test victory over Sri Lanka at Chester-le-Street, Cook boasts 10,042 runs from 128 Tests, at an average of 78.45 runs per match.

Should he maintain this average for the remainder of his career, Cook would pass Tendulkar's mammoth tally of 15,921 runs in his 203rd five-day game.

And based on the number of Tests he has played since making his debut against India at Nagpur in March 2006, match number 203 for Cook is likely to arrive in approximately six years and six months - meaning December 2022 could just be a time for celebration in England.



By the time December 2022 comes around, Cook will be preparing to celebrate his 38th birthday.

The man he replaced as England's leading run-scorer, fellow opener Graham Gooch, played his final international at the age of 41 and a look through Test cricket's leading run-scorers suggests Cook has every chance of still being active at the highest level in six and a half years.

Tendulkar, like Gooch, was into his forties when he exited the Test arena, while Ricky Ponting, Jacques Kallis, Rahul Dravid and Kumar Sangakkara all played on until beyond their 37th birthday.


Age of top-five Test run-scorers in their final Tests:

Sachin Tendulkar: 40 years, six months

Ricky Ponting: 37 years, 11 months

Jacques Kallis: 38 years, two months

Rahul Dravid: 39 years, zero months

Kumar Sangakkara: 37 years, nine months



Unsurprisingly for a player who now stands among Test cricket's most prolific run-gatherers, Cook has displayed admirable consistency throughout his career.

Although there have been lean periods, most recently in 2014 when he managed just 390 runs across eight Tests, Cook has averaged at least 32 in every year since making his debut, only dipping below 43 on three occasions.

In addition, Cook enjoyed the most productive year of his career to date in 2015, amassing 1,364 runs. Should he maintain his current average of 46.49, Tendulkar's record could well prove within his reach.