Thu, Mar 14, 2013 - Page 18 News List

NZ cricket skipper praises England’s ‘genius’ Cook

AFP, WELLINGTON

England cricket team captain Alastair Cook, center, inspects the pitch with teammates Matt Prior, left, and James Anderson during a team training session yesterday at the Basin Reserve in Wellington, New Zealand.

Photo: Reuters

New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum yesterday praised the “genius” Alastair Cook, saying that England’s free-scoring captain was second only to Australian legend Don Bradman on current form.

The pitch for the second Wellington Test starting today is expected to offer more early bounce than the lifeless Dunedin wicket, and McCullum said he would probably make England bat first if he won the toss at the Basin Reserve.

McCullum said Cook, who scored a second-innings century in Dunedin to help England deny New Zealand a victory, was a daunting obstacle at the top of the batting order.

“I thought we bowled reasonably well to Cookie the other day, obviously he’s a genius batsman,” he said. “His record is testament to that, where he’s at in his career at the moment is as good as anyone who has played the game probably, barring Bradman.”

Cook has scored 24 centuries in 88 Tests at an average of 49.6, including four hundreds in the five Tests since becoming permanent captain late last year, and McCullum said he appeared to be reveling in leading from the front.

Bradman, acknowledged as the greatest batsman in Test history, averaged 99.94 in 52 Tests between 1928 and 1948.

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