In 12 years playing for England, four of them as captain, Alastair achieved almost everything the game had to offer, becoming England’s all-time leading test run-scorer with over 12,000 runs to his name and taking the team to the top of the test nation rankings. He led the team through good times and bad, and helped maintain team unity throughout.


Alastair Cook was the captain of the England cricket team and one of the most successful players in the modern history of the game. He was the youngest Englishman to reach 1,000 test runs, the only Englishman to score seven Test centuries before his 23rd birthday, and the youngest in the world to reach 8,000 test runs. He played for England for 12 years, captaining the side for four years and 59 matches. He became England’s all-time leading test run-scorer with over 12,000 runs to his name, including 33 centuries (the last one in his farewell test match).

Starting out as a member of the Essex Academy aged 15, Alastair made his first-class debut at 19. He quickly established himself as a batsman of exceptional talent and he broke into the England test side just three years later making a half-century on his debut. He moved up the England batting order and became a regular member in both test, one day and Twenty20 sides.

When his predecessor as captain Andrew Strauss stepped down, Alastair was thrown straight in leading the side on a tour of India. He rose to the occasion and unlike some captains before him, did not let the pressure of leadership affect his performance at the crease. He scored three centuries in his first three tests as captain, including a 10-wicket win over India that was lauded as one of England’s finest performances. He led the team to their first series win in India in almost 30 years and became England’s leading scorer of centuries. The following year Alastair took charge of the team that retained the Ashes and became the top test side in the world.

After attaining some of the greatest achievements in his sport both personally and as a team member, Alastair also experienced the lows of leading England in a 5-0 Ashes defeat. Although he led the team that 18 months later took the Ashes back, the team and his own performances became inconsistent and after four years in charge, he stepped down, retiring from international cricket two years later. He looks at the effects of winning and losing, and challenges to performing at your best. He also considers how a team unifies and is motivated, how to deal with the success and failure of individuals, and the balance that makes a good leader.

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Book written by Sir Alastair Cook CBE


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