Essex seamer Sam Cook made a big impression on his Championship debut against Lancashire and is determined to kick on to a successful cricketing career.
Injuries to some of the Division One leaders’ seam bowling attack meant that the 20-year-old Cook was given an opportunity to impress in the big match against second-placed Lancashire.
He bowled long spells and racked up 26 overs in total, going at just over two runs an over while also picking up a couple of wickets.
His first scalp in Championship cricket was a beauty of a delivery that nipped back at in-form Liam Livingstone and sent his off-stump cartwheeling.
Cook spoke of how much he enjoyed his debut and was pleased with his performance.
“It was really nice to get out there and try and contribute to what has been a really good season for the guys,” he said.
“Just great to make my Championship debut and it was a day I won’t forget for a long time.
“It was a nice delivery. He (Livingstone) has done well recently, got a double hundred last week. It was more a big wicket to get for the team as well so I was really chuffed. It set us up into a good position early on.
“I was pleased to go at a good economy like that. I do try and contain as much as possible. I was pleased to do a job for the team.”
Cook has been playing second XI cricket for Essex throughout the summer and has also played for Loughborough while he completes his university studies.
The right-arm seamer bowled with good pace and control throughout the sole Lancashire innings in the rain-affected draw at Old Trafford and is keen to kick on.
“I got into cricket about 11 or 12 and went through the age groups. The last couple of years I’ve been at university and a summer contract here.
“It’s going really well. I want to make cricket my career and after I finish university.
“That’s all I’m focusing on at the minute and I’m really enjoying it.”
The draw against title rivals Lancashire means that Essex are now firm favourites for the Division One title in their first season after promotion from Division Two.
Much of that success has been built on their bowling, with seamer Jamie Porter the leading wicket-taker in Division One with 57 wickets and spinner Simon Harmer just behind him on 55 wickets.
As well as those two standout performers, Essex have also been able to call on international stars in Pakistan’s Mohammad Amir and New Zealand’s Neil Wagner at different stages of the season.
Cook says he has tried to learn as much as possible from those players
“The wealth of experience of seam bowling that we have around the club is great,” Cook said.
“The likes of Mohammad Amir and Neil Wagner, these are people that have played the game all around the world.
“You just have to try and be a sponge and learn as much as you can. It’s a great place to be a young seam bowler.”