Jos Buttler column: Alastair Cook is the most down-to-earth superstar I have ever met
"Alastair is always there for you whether you've played one game or a hundred games, he treats everyone the same and always has time and advice for people."
By Jos Buttler - @josbuttler
Last Updated: 05/09/18 6:18am
Jos Buttler brands retiring England batsman Alastair Cook as the "most down-to-earth superstar" he has met ahead of his 161st and final Test, plus reflects on Moeen Ali's triumphant return and an Ageas Bowl epic...
It is hard to put into words all the records and amazing statistics Alastair Cook has achieved - I think they speak for themselves.
His longevity has been incredible and he is a great of cricket, not just English cricket. It has been a fantastic international career and hopefully he can have a fitting send-off at The Oval.
Cookie will be hugely missed in our dressing room - he is the most down-to-earth superstar I have ever met. He is a genuine, humble bloke, a great team man and a great role model for us all.
You could never tell if he had scored a double hundred or got out cheaply as he is always very level-headed, consistent in his outlook and incredibly hardworking.
He is also incredibly fit. I think he's probably used one pair of gloves for his whole career such is how little he sweats! He never looks tired or out of breath, which is testament to his dedication.
To play nearly all of his Test matches consecutively and retain such consistent form, especially up the top of the order in England is quite incredible. You run out of superlatives to describe him.
Cookie's shoes are big ones to fill as he has been a rock in the side and changing room for 12 years.
Alastair is always there for you whether you've played one game or a hundred games, he treats everyone the same and always has time and advice for people if they want it.
Cookie told the lads that he was retiring in the dressing room on Sunday night after our win at The Ageas Bowl. It was obviously very emotional for him - telling the team is probably the hardest bit. We then shared memories, celebrated the win and toasted him.
It would be great for Cookie to sign off with a 33rd Test hundred and I can't think of anyone who is more deserving of the celebration of his career, which he is no doubt going to get at The Oval.
He probably won't enjoy it - he just wants to play the game and get on with it - but for the players and the Barmy Army, who he is so fond of and who have been such a great support to him, it will be great to see him in action one more time and recognise his success.
We obviously wrapped up a series win in Southampton with Moeen Ali playing brilliantly after coming back into the team, with nine wickets and some important runs.
He is great fun to play with as he is an immensely talented cricketer - Joe Root said Mo had bowled the best he has ever bowled for England, which shows the hard work he put in during his break out of the Test team.
He has been in immense form for Worcester and carried that into a Test match.
I know he told Michael Atherton at the presentation that his time away had made him more determined to get back and that his break had been a good thing.
The bubble of international cricket is pretty relentless at times and when you do miss out, whether that's due to being dropped or rested, you do get a chance to breathe again and put cricket into perspective. It energises you and really whets your appetite to get back in and impress.
I think we definitely saw that from Moeen last week. His team also played very well on our football warm-up, so he is happy with that and Liverpool's start to the season. He's had a great couple of weeks!
Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane put on a strong partnership for India on day four - the biggest of the game - but we knew that if we made that vital breakthrough we would have a good chance of forcing the win on a tough pitch for batting. Cookie, stood at slip, kept saying it was a lot of runs needed on that wicket, even though India were playing well.
Games where you play well throughout and win by a large margin are enjoyable and, perhaps, stress-free but for the neutrals and Test cricket as a whole, those nail-biters are great.
They are exciting to be involved in, too, even though you are always on edge a bit!
I managed to back up my hundred at Tent Bridge and continue my form in Southampton and I have been feeling good for a number of months. I have that hunger to keep wanting to go out there and do it again the next week.
I have been quite good at parking previous performances and looking forward to the next challenge, which has served me well.
I have also been consistent with my routines and training which has allowed me to be more consistent on the field.
We've seen that batting at the top of the order in this series against the new ball has proved very tough and it has become a little easier once the ball gets a bit older.
Thankfully our guys, especially Sam Curran, who has taken to Test cricket fantastically well, have scored runs when given the chance.
It's on to The Oval now, which is a great venue steeped in memories, such as when England won the Ashes in 2005. This week it will be steeped in the memory of Cookie's last game for England.
We will all be willing him on to do well.
Watch day one of the fifth Test between England and India, Cook's last, live from 10am on Friday on Sky Sports Cricket (channel 404) and Main Event (channel 401).
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