Alistair Cook - 'Fear of failure drives me on'
ESSEX and England opening batsman Alistair Cook has openly admitted this week that it's a real fear of failure that drives him on and on.
Failure to score runs at both county and England level is a consistent background worry for the 27 year-old former Maldon club batsman who has declared: "The fear of failure is with me every day.
"In a way it's what gets me out of bed in the morning and that really motivates me," he continues.
"I wouldn't want it said about me in future years that 'he was a good player for a few years but could have achieved something better' because that wouldn't be good."
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He adds: "It's that fear that drives you on in training sessions and helps provide the right attitude you need to work."
"Dealing with the whole thing as it were, it's the actual pressure of playing for England which is the hardest," he continues.
"That pressure of performing at that level all the time is really difficult."
Cook, now widely tipped to take over from Strauss as the full England captain after the next Ashes series, suffered such pressure in 2010 when his own form went downhill but thanks to his own dedication and commitment, plus some personal mentoring from ex-England and Essex batsman Graham Gooch, he came through it.
"It was difficult but criticism is part and parcel of the game and you just have to knuckle down and get it right again," he added.
Cook and Straus have now entered the top five of Test batting partnerships after completing a 108-run target to win the second Test becoming only the fifth partnership in history to go past 5,000 Test runs.
It puts the pair up amongst the great cricketing batting partnerships of Dravid and Tendulkar for India (6,920 runs) and Greenidge and Haynes for the West Indies (6,482) and Hayden and Langer for Australia (6,081).
"It's nice for us both to be that kind of company but I'm not so sure we'll be considered in the same breath as the other great partnerships," he explains.
"We may look back on it when we've both finished playing and it will have been nice to have been up there amongst such greats."
The quiet and unassuming Cook generally keeps a low profile both with Essex and England and unlike most team mates keeps his thoughts to himself and his immediate confidant rather than expressing any views on social network sites, like Twitter.
Cook, who has scored 6,356 runs in 79 Tests since making his debut with a hundred in Nagpur, India back in 2006 at the tender age of 20, prefers to let his batting do the talking.
He's scored 19 centuries for England leaving him just three short of Wally Hammond, Colin Cowdrey and Geoffrey Boycott on the England all time top century makers.
He adds: "You never look too far ahead as things can trip you up but who knows how I'll feel when I'm 35 – it would be amazing if I'm still playing for England but again you never know."
Cook, who is already skipper of England's One Day side, is seen my many of his peers as the natural successor to Strauss but he refuses to be drawn on that possibility.
"He's a great captain and batsman and the way he handles the captaincy and conducts himself around everyone else in the team certainly sets him apart," he adds.
Looking ahead to today's Third Test at Edgbaston where he's keen to make it a hat-trick of consecutive hundreds, he went on: "It's all about the pressure of performing and you don't come out the other side until you have stopped playing," he continued.
"No matter how many games you have played or what you have achieved you are always desperate to perform as well as improve."