Throwback Thursday: Jimmy Cook
Jimmy Cook was quite simply a run machine and in the three seasons that he was with Somerset he scored over 7,500 first class runs for the county.
In fact if you add in the runs he scored for Somerset in the limited over games, the very personable and gently spoken South African made a total of 10, 652. No mean feat for a man who was 36 years old before he made his county debut.
There was nothing flashy or gimmicky about the way that Jimmy Cook scored his runs. He was stylish but not flamboyant and the placement of his shots was always carefully calculated to make batting appear effortless.
The boundaries were timed to perfection, stroked rather than smote, and they came thick and fast, much to the delight of the Somerset fans who quickly took the batsman from Transvaal to their hearts.
In his first season (1989) Jimmy Cook accumulated 2241 first class runs which included eight centuries at an average of 60.56.
In 1990 he was appointed as vice captain to new skipper Chris Tavare and performed even better for Somerset hitting 2608 runs with nine centuries at an incredible average of 76.90. He was the first batsman in the country to reach 1000 and 2000 runs and in May of that year against Glamorgan at Cardiff he had reached 313 when Tavare declared the Somerset innings on 535 for two.
Cook’s final season (1991) was even better and saw him score 2755 first class runs at an amazing average of 81.02, which included 11 centuries, a new Somerset record, beating the previous best set by Bill Alley 30 years earlier in 1961.
In later years when Brian Rose was the Director of Cricket at Somerset the South African returned to work as a batting coach with the younger players at the club. On many summer evenings and at weekends Cook could be found offering advice and helping age group and second eleven batsmen, a number of who have gone on to play for the first team.