No Englishman has played more Tests than Sir Alastair Cook, who notched up 161 appearances before calling it a day.

He wasn’t bad with the bat either, scoring the most runs (12,472) and the most Test centuries (33) by an Englishman, or in the field, taking the most catches of any English fielder (175).

The Chef’s 33 hundreds came at 24 different grounds, 17 of them away from English shores, so he certainly showcased his quality at stadiums all around the globe.

When we spoke to Cooky for the latest episode of The Shackles Are Off podcast (which is out now!), we could resist asking him to name his top five cricket grounds…


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“You can’t look past Lord’s, it’s an incredible place. It is a bit like Wimbledon in that it has got something which you can’t put words into, you can’t put words into why it’s so special. It hums.

“Lord’s is always up there.”

Newlands, Cape Town

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“Newlands for the pure beauty of Table Mountain and the setting of it. I think it is an incredible cricket ground.”

Chelmsford, Essex

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“Chelmsford is always up there, you know it is. I just love watching everything there.

“The only thing I don’t like about Chelmsford is when you sit on the balcony. The balcony’s not wide enough for people to walk past.”

Queenstown, New Zealand

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“The remarkable mountains in the background.

“It’s amazing. That is up there!”

The WACA, Perth

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“A ground I’ve never won a game at and it’s really sad. Actually, I’ve got some pretty bad memories of the ground but the WACA always felt like a cricket ground.

“You go to MCG and it feels like a stadium. Adelaide has kind of gone stadium-ish and it’s beautiful what they’ve done. The WACA is a bit more run-down but there is so much history when you get into that ground.

“I mean I played there three times and lost three times, so I shouldn’t really say it but it feels like a cricket ground.”

Listen to the full chat with the Chef on the latest episode of The Shackles Are Off podcast…