Trent Rockets sailor Sam Cook is aiming for recognition in England after landing a starring role in the final of the hundred.
Cook caused a storm in his side’s nerve-wracking two-wicket win over Manchester Originals at Lord’s, scoring four for 18 in his 20 deliveries.
Operating with the new ball, the Sear returned in fatality, knocking out Laurie Evans, Wayne Madsen, Tom Lammonby and Richard Gleeson as he showcased his whiteball skills with a series of accurate 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 keen to prove himself in the international arena should England come along.
“It’s something I definitely have ambitions for. I want to play every possible format,” he said.
“Getting a bit of recognition from the England Lions this summer was a big boost and speaking to some of these guys, they rate my white ball skills. it’s in my head
“I’m just trying to improve every area I can: red ball bowling, white ball bowling, batting. I try to get better with every workout.
“It was one of those nights you don’t forget. As a bowler, it’s high risk and high reward. When thugs come at you that hard, it can feel like a pretty tough job. On nights like tonight you have to savor it as a bowler because they don’t happen that often in this format.”
Cook’s exploits with the ball reduced the Originals to an underwhelming 120 for nine, but that score was almost enough to land the silverware on a tired pitch that clipped batsmen’s wings on either side.
In the end, Rockets captain Lewis needed Gregory to grab the game by the neck, finishing eighth and owning a tense final with 17 not missing in just six balls.
“It’s not quite there yet, but it’s been a fantastic tournament to be a part of and it’s really special to be on the winning side,” added Cook.
“Our depth this year has been our greatest strength and having Lewis come in at eight, a guy who has the ability to knock the best bowlers in the world out of the park is a real luxury. He led us to victory.”
Originals coach Simon Katich refused to blame the sluggish surface for his side’s defeat, but hinted that scheduling the Eliminator playoff just 24 hours before the Finals could have been a deciding factor.
His side had to defeat London Spirit at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton on Friday to secure a chance at the group stage leaders and Katich felt the demands of a tight schedule may have stretched his men too far.
“Thanks to Trent Rockets, they were the standout team in the competition and we certainly gave them a great run for their money,” said the Australian.
“But tonight it 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 that).
“Don’t get me wrong, this is a great competition and I’ve really enjoyed it for the past two years. Our boys just looked tired, especially with the racquet. We didn’t string partnerships together and we did that really well throughout the tournament.
“In the end, it probably influenced our decision-making. You get on at 1am, 1:30am and it’s hard to fall asleep because the adrenaline is pumping, then you have to go back. We tried, but you probably have to see that.”