Trent Rockets seamer Sam Cook set his sights on England recognition after taking a starring role in the final of the Hundred.
Cook bowled up a storm in his side’s nailbiting two-wicket win over Manchester Originals at Lord’s, taking four for 18 in his 20 deliveries.
The seamer operated with the new ball and came back at the death, taking out Laurie Evans, Wayne Madsen, Tom Lammonby and Richard Gleeson as he showed off his white-ball skills with a series of precision yorkers.
The 25-year-old is building an enviable trophy cabinet, having already won two LV= County Championships, a Vitality Blast and the Bob Willis Trophy with Essex, and is eager to take a chance in the international arena should England come calling. You too could take a chance with these new UK casinos.
“It’s something I’ve definitely got aspirations for. I want to play every format I possibly can,” he said.
“Getting a bit of recognition from the England Lions this summer was a big boost and speaking to some of those guys, they rate my white-ball skills. It’s in my mind.
“I’m just trying to improve every area I can: red-ball bowling, white-ball bowling, batting. I try and get better every training session.
“This has been one of those nights you don’t forget. It’s high-risk, high-reward as a bowler. With batters coming at you so hard it can feel like quite a tough job. On nights like tonight you have to savour it as a bowler because they don’t come around too often in this format.”
Cook’s heroics with the ball reduced the Originals to an underwhelming 120 for nine, but that score almost proved enough to land the silverware on a tired pitch that clipped the wings of batters on both sides.
In the end it took Rockets captain Lewis Gregory to grab the game by the scruff of the neck, arriving at number eight and owning a tense finale with 17 not out in just six balls.
“It’s still not quite sunk in yet, but this has been an amazing tournament to be part of and finishing on the winning side is really special,” Cook added.
“Our depth this year has been our biggest strength and to have Lewis walking in at eight, a bloke who’s got the ability to hit the best bowlers in the world out of the park, it’s a real luxury. He led us to victory.”
Originals coach Simon Katich refused to blame the sluggish surface for his side’s defeat, but did suggest that scheduling the eliminator play-off just 24 hours before the final may have been a deciding factor.
His side needed to defeat London Spirit at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton on Friday to earn their shot at the group stage leaders and Katich felt that the demands of a tight schedule may have stretched his men too thin.
“Credit to Trent Rockets, they were the standout team in the comp and we certainly gave them a great run for their money,” said the Australian.
“But tonight it just looked like we were a bit tired in our decision-making, which was totally understandable given our great win last night. I spoke to our board about it last night after our game… I don’t think there’s any other competition in the world (that does this).
“Don’t get me wrong, this is a great competition and for the last two years I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it. Our boys just looked tired, particularly with the bat. We didn’t string partnerships together and we’ve done that really well all tournament.
“It probably affected our decision-making in the end. You get in at 1am, 1.30am and it’s tough to get to sleep because the adrenaline is buzzing up, then you have to back up again. We gave ourselves a shot but it’s something that probably has to be looked at.”