This piece originally appeared on Livemint.com
If the England and Wales Cricket Board keeps scheduling Tests at the same rate, if he keeps playing them and if he even maintains his current below-elite clip, Alastair Cook can surpass Sachin Tendulkar’s haul of 15,921 Test runs in about five years. Cook debuted five years after Tendulkar. Yet, he has played 12 more Tests and scored 554 more runs more than Tendulkar at 31 years. He leads other top run-getters by more.
Cook, who is number 11 among run-getters and is the only active player challenging the game’s most prolific, owes his place here less to productivity: he has the lowest batting average among this set. He is more about scheduling, selection and batting spot. An England regular since debut, Cook is averaging 12 Tests a year, against 8-10 for others. Being the only opener in this set, he bats more innings. At his current hit rate of 1.8 innings per Test and average of 46.87, he will need 62 Tests for those 5,233 more runs to the summit.
(Data Source: ESPNCricinfo)