Alastair Cook: Passing The Torch
A classic never goes out of style. In many ways, Alastair Cook embodies classic Gray-Nicolls.
Identified as a young player as a future England captain, Cook has been a lifelong ambassador with the brand. Now, as he moves into the later part of his career, the Classic tag must be passed down the Gray-Nicolls family.
So who is next? Step forward, Max Holden. The Middlesex youngster, who like Cook is a left-handed batsman, has been earmarked for greatness from a young age. Already a Gray-Nicolls veteran having signed at the age of 15, Holden captained England Under 19s, with Angus Fraser declaring him “one of the most exciting young players in the country.”
Holden has long since tried to emulate Cook, going back to his bat of choice as a child. “I think my first Gray-Nicolls was the Powerbow with the yellow stickers. Probably close to Alastair’s debut when I was about 12 or something.” The parallels with Cook don’t end with their hand of choice.
As alluded to, Cook was also picked up early by Gray-Nicolls. “I think Gray-Nicolls chose me,” said Cook. “I was Under 14 South of England best batsman apparently, and I ordered two free bats and two free gloves - I think it was on a Christmas card once and yeah, that was it. I was sold forever really. They haven’t managed to get rid of me, so I’m still hanging in there!”
So what do Cook and Holden see as crucial in their relationship with Gray-Nicolls? “As a batter, it’s the most important thing to be able to trust your equipment, especially your bat,” said the former England captain. “It’s got to feel like part of you, and actually you can’t be worried about what you’re holding. You’ve got to be going and concentrating on the ball coming down, actually having that bit of trust that you know you’ve got a decent bit of wood in your hand.”
For Max, it’s all about communication. “The communication has been really good. They understand what I like in a bat, what I like in my equipment and they’re always there for chats about what equipment I need.”
Another classic awaits.