Gary Palmer: Cook still had some years of cricket left in him

On a day when Cook announced that he would quit after the final Test against England, Palmer - who worked as his special coach for a couple of years from 2015 - believes that Cook still had some years of cricket left in him.

Gary Palmer played a key role in helping Alastair Cook return to form.   -  Special Arrangement

Gary Palmer is not a household name. But those who follow cricket closely, know that this gentleman from Somerset has been one of the loyal servants of the game.

That’s not all, he has played a key role in helping Alastair Cook return to form.

On a day when Cook announced that he would quit after the final Test against England, Palmer - who worked as his special coach for a couple of years from 2015 - believes that Cook still had some years of cricket left in him.

“He has played a lot of Test matches and has been under lot of pressure over the years. It would have been great to see him carrying on. He is only 33. He has got a family, and other things in life. It’s his choice. He has done the right thing. But I am sure he could have gone on for a few more years,” Palmer told Sportstar.

In the ongoing Test series against India, Cook has been sluggish in his approach and has managed to score only 109 runs in four matches.

And Palmer looks at it in a different way.

“If someone is contemplating retirement for a while, that must affect the confidence. That is not helpful. He has been unlucky to be batting on wickets favourable to bowlers. The ball has been moving around a lot and all the batsmen have found it difficult,” he said.

“He has not been going back and across, he is going straight back so he sees middle stump. When he goes back and across and turns for the ball, that’s when he plays really well.

That could have been fine-tuned a bit in the last few months,” Palmer said, making it clear that it’s all in the head.

“It is a state of mind. May be, he is just mentally exhausted.”

During the two-year stint, Palmer had seen Cook as someone who was ‘willing to keep looking for a way to get better.’

“He was fantastic to work with because he would listen to you and try to pick up a thing or two. He is a model professional player,” Palmer said.

In the recent past, there have been talks that Cook’s mentality and temperament in the middle, but having seen him closely, Palmer considers him as one ‘of the most mentally strong cricketers in the world.’

“It was a great honour and privilege to work with Cooky, who is a batting legend,” the coach said.

There were talks that Cook would call it a day, but the ones like Palmer were sure that the erstwhile skipper would pull this one off.

Little they’d have thought that the ‘Cooky’ would crumble so soon!