This week our Y8 boys were excited to watch an interview with none other than England legend and Old Bedfordian, Sir Alastair Cook (98-03).
Expertly interviewed by Head Boy, Will Hayward, Alastair spoke about his time at school, saying, “The experience I got from playing at Bedford School was incredible.” “Everything – if I ever needed it – Bedford School put on for me, as long as I was prepared to work hard to do it.”
During the video interview, kindly filmed for our Y8 boys’ online post-exam programme, Alastair recalled his 7.00am sessions in the school nets, and spoke with warmth about Master in charge of cricket at the time, Jeremy Farrell, and cricket professionals Andy Pick, Richard Bates and Derek Randall – all of whom influenced him during his time at the school.
Alastair, who always speaks with great humility, told Will how he never imagined that he was good enough as he moved through the stages of his cricket career. He just kept pushing for the next level, and this was maybe the secret to his success in a career that took him to the England Captaincy. His advice to the boys was, “Always work harder than the bloke next to you.”
He also offered the boys some great ideas for combatting nerves, something he is very used to dealing with as an opening batsman, admitting that, “I always got nervous, and I still get nervous now. To me it’s a great sign: it means I care and I’m ready for the challenge.” However, he urged boys not to let their nerves overcome them and affect their performance too much. His top tip – the night before a match, write notes about what you want to achieve and how you want to play. Then when the nerves start to kick in, look back at your notes and try to achieve them.
He also shared some of the best advice that he received from his mentor and childhood cricketing hero, Graham Gooch, for when things have not gone so well – “There is always another day; tomorrow is another day. You have a 10-minute think about it and then you move on. You cannot let it affect you. Think instead about how to be better next time.” Great advice for all areas of life, not just cricket.
As Alastair summed up: