Alastair Nathan Cook, CBE (born 25th December 1984) is an English cricketer. A left-handed opening batsman, he is a former captain of the England Test and ODI teams. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest and most successful batsmen ever to play for England, and one of the most prolific batsmen of the modern era. Cook played for Essex's Academy and made his debut for the first XI in 2003. He played in a variety of England's youth teams from 2000 until his call up to the Test side in 2006. He normally fields at first slip.
While touring in the West Indies with the ECB National Academy, Cook was called up to the England national team in India as a last-minute replacement for Marcus Trescothick and debuted with a century. He made his debut at the age of 21 and went on to score 1,000 runs in his maiden year and became the youngest Englishman to reach 1,500, 2,000, 3,000, 4,000, 5,000 and 10,000 Test runs, making centuries in his first Test matches against India, Pakistan, the West Indies and Bangladesh.
Despite Cook's run scoring exploits in his early test career, he came under criticism throughout 2008 for a lack of centuries; he replied in 2009 with two centuries, as well as a score of 95 against Australia to help seal England's first victory against them at Lord's since 1934. He took seven catches in the series, including the final wicket, to win the 2009 Ashes series. After deputising as Test captain in 2010 and then taking the ODI captaincy full-time, Cook went on to play another pivotal role in retaining the 2010-11 Ashes series, breaking records by scoring the second highest number of runs in a Test series by an Englishman, including his maiden first-class double-hundred and two further hundreds, and batting for over 35 hours during the series.
He was appointed captain of the Test team after fellow opener Andrew Strauss's retirement on 29 August 2012. Cook captained England to its first Test series victory on Indian soil since 1984–85. During the tour he broke the record for most Test centuries for England, 23 and became the first captain to score a century in each of his first five Tests in charge. On 28 December 2013, Alastair Cook became the youngest player to complete 8,000 Test runs, 21 days younger than Sachin Tendulkar.
Cook was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2011 Birthday Honours and Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2016 Birthday Honours for services to cricket.
On 30 May 2015, Cook became the leading run-scorer in Test matches for England, surpassing Graham Gooch(8900). In the second Test against New Zealand at Headingley, he also scored his 9000th Test run, the first English batsman to do so. As a player, Cook is the first England cricketer to be involved in 50 Test victories. The only other England player to have achieved this is opening bowler James Anderson. Exactly a year later, on 30 May 2016 in the second test against Sri Lanka at Riverside, Cook became the youngest man (and the first Englishman) to reach 10,000 runs in Test cricket.
On 20 October 2016, when he played against Bangladesh, Cook became the most capped English player. On 16 December 2016, in the fifth and final test against India in Chennai, he became the youngest player to complete 11,000 Test runs (10th batsman overall and the only Englishman), achieving the feat aged 31 years and 357 days. After the conclusion of England's tour of the subcontinent in Bangladesh and India, Cook stepped down as Test captain, having captained the team in an English record of 59 Tests. He also holds the record of leading England in the most number of ODIs, 69.