Captain Cook? More like Captain Invisible

Alastair Cook’s incredible achievement has not had the coverage it deserves on British TV.Forget Sachin Tendulkar, Cook last week became the fastest man ever to 10,000 Test runs, not to mention the first Englishman to reach that exclusive milestone.The 31-year-old captain has also been a squeaky clean role model for cricket that even competitors as fierce as David Warner can’t help but admire as an out and out “gentleman”.However, the tragedy of Cook’s outstanding achievement and legacy is that not one of those 10,000 runs has been scored on free-to-air television in his own country.Cook is one of England’s greatest ever sportsmen, yet he remains largely anonymous to half the population who don’t subscribe to pay TV.His Test debut back in 2006 coincided with the ECB’s decision to chase the dollar ahead of the good of the game on the public broadcaster, and his career reinforces the fact that most children in England simply aren’t exposed to cricket.The rise and rise of the Big Bash League on Channel 10 illustrates the impact free-to-air television has on the growth of a sport and Test cricket on the Nine Network consistently averages well over a million viewers through the Australian summer.But when Cook’s brave Englanders stunned Australia in the first Ashes Test last year in Cardiff, an upset which was front and back page news across the UK, just over 400,000 British eyeballs were actually watching on TV — about the same number as a 1974 Columbo film being shown on a rival channel.Cook has reached the milestone while shouldering the opener’s responsibility.Source:AFPTo make it in the tabloids and therefore to make it in the mass media in the UK you also have to be exciting and different. But an outrageously talented renegade like Kevin Pietersen or Ian Botham, Cook is not.

To his enormous credit though, in the age of racy tweets and self-indulgence, Cook has always been true to himself and his fundamental beliefs.He’s not a sledger, he’s not an abrasive character and he’s never tried to be what he’s not.And it’s worked nicely for him.Cook is not just the quintessential old fashioned English gentleman with union jack draped behind him when he walks out to bat — he’s also one of Ashes cricket’s genuine tough men.Australia first saw Cook during the torturous 2005 Ashes tour when he made a double century against them for Essex.You had the feeling that day that the Aussies would continue to be haunted by him for years to come.But as it turned out it’s been a good, even battle.Cricket: England skipper Alastair Cook has become the youngest man to reach 10,000 Test runs as England thrashed Sri Lanka in the Second Test and wi…

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