The turnaround from boy to man is a lightly used term, but in a sporting context, the meteoric rise of Alistair Cook is certainly a fine example of the phrase.
His international debut in 2006, aged just 21 seemed like just another call-up, but Cook had big boots to fill in the shape of Marcus Trescothick, England's long serving opening batsman. His call up to the senior side was preceded by an ECB Academy trip to the West Indies, and his impact on the side was certainly historic. Cook scored 60 and 104* against a strong India side in Nagpur, and being plunged into the depths of the Test arena at such a young age, it seemed the perfect replacement for the troubled Trescothick had come to the field.
Cook's stats are certainly on a mouth-watering sight. The youngest Englishman to reach the 1500, 2000, 3000, 4000 and 5000 test runs mark, and the only Englishman to reach 1000 test runs before his 22nd birthday. The batsman also holds the world record time for batting in a five test series – batting for 36 hours, and scoring 766 runs, in the 2010-11 Ashes series against Australia.
Cook's ravishing career as one of England's best found talents has also seen him come in for much criticism regarding his style. It was considered too slow during the a two-year period, and was consequently omitted from the Twenty20 squad to play Australia and the 2007 World Cup.
Despite contributing good scores in the long form of the game, the pressure for him to rediscover his touch was ever present. Cook saw himself left out of the Twenty20 and ODI squads to play South Africa and India, and rediscovering his form was imperative with the 2009 Ashes series on the horizon.
Despite criticism across the board, and pressure on his place in the team, the 2010-11 Ashes series in Australia was crucial to Cook's long-term placement in the Test side. His 235* in the second innings to salavage a draw for England was vital to the series, as England turned the tables on the Australians. His average of 127 for the five test series and being awarded man of the series for his 766 runs, (The second Englishman to ever reach that total in a series) turned a broken, struggling Cook into a world beater as England retained the prestigious urn on Australian soil.
His form in the Test matches has seen not just his recall to the ODI side, but his appointment as captain. And, how the responsibility has brushed off on him. His first series in charge of the one day side saw England record a 3-2 series win over Sri Lanka, and just this last week, England lead the current series against Pakistan 2-0. Centuries in both games from a certain Alistair Cook.