Alastair Cook

'Test cricket gives the ultimate satisfaction' – Alastair Cook

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Former England captain Alastair Cook, who retired from international cricket in September 2018, said he missed playing for England and is looking for new motivation to continue playing for his county side, Essex.

The newly knighted 35-year-old called it quits after a 12-year international career, finishing as England's most prolific Test batsman, having scored over 12,000 runs at an average of 45.35 with 33 centuries to his name.

"We are in a slightly unusual situation as this is the first year that I have ever played cricket without the carrot of international cricket and without that motivation of something bigger," Cook told Sky Sports.

This is the first year that I have ever played cricket without the carrot of international cricket and without that motivation of something bigger.

Alastair Cook

"No disrespect to county cricket, but when you're playing for England, it is the ultimate, it is what has always driven me to push myself above and beyond. Without that I don't know how I'm going to respond. So far it has been great, I've really enjoyed it, I've gone about my business in the way I think is right, but it is a change.

"Test cricket gives ultimate satisfaction that I don't think any other type of cricket does due to the nature and longevity of it."

Looking ahead to England's upcoming Ashes series, which begins from 1 August in Birmingham, Cook said the county games provided the perfect opportunity for potential openers to audition. England have struggled in this area, even when Cook was playing, and Rory Burns and Keaton Jennings have, so far, been unable to perform consistently. Jason Roy and James Vince are among those whose names have been suggested as alternatives.

Roy, who plays for Surrey in domestic cricket, is a regular face in the limited overs side but hasn't played any Tests yet. The 28-year-old featured in only two games for his county side last season, but scored 196 runs at an average of 65.33.

"I haven’t seen much of Jason [Roy] playing four-day cricket. We have all seen what he can do in white-ball cricket," said Cook. "Given a run and some experience there is no reason he cannot do it."

He also backed Vince as a viable option. "That 80-odd at Brisbane [in the Ashes] batting at No.3 – which is like opening – you’re a serious player to play like he did against that attack in that situation after all the build-up and pressure over five or six weeks before that," Cook told Standard Sport.

'Given a run and some experience there is no reason he cannot do it' – Cook on Jason Roy
'Given a run and some experience there is no reason he cannot do it' – Cook on Jason Roy

"England haven’t seen the best of him but the move up to the top of the order could be what he needs to do it.

"I’ve sat and watched him play and dreamed of some of the shots he can play. I hope he doesn’t score too many runs against Essex but I think the top of the order could suit him really well."

Vince, who hopes for another crack at international cricket, had scored a fluent 83 in his first Ashes Test at the Gabba in 2017 but was dismissed by Nathan Lyon before he could reach the three-figure mark.

Vince scored an impressive 76 against New Zealand in March 2018
Vince scored an impressive 76 against New Zealand in March 2018

Asked if things would have been different if Vince had scored a century, Cook replied, "A lot of people say, ‘If only he’d got a hundred’ but that’s never the way it works. At the time it was disappointing but more for James because I thought he played so well. If he came back into the side and did really well I’d be very proud."

The 28-year-old Vince recently admitted that he would open the innings for Hampshire in a bid to regain a place in the Test side this summer. He has played 13 Tests for England scoring over 500 runs at an average of 24.90, his last game coming against New Zealand in March 2018.

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