Cook played for Essex's Academy and made his debut for the first XI in 2003.

He played in several of England's youth teams from 2000 until his call up to the Test side in 2006.

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During his summer holidays, Cook would play cricket for nearby Maldon Cricket Club, and by the age of 11 he was already playing in the adult Third XI.

He played sporadically for Maldon over seven years, with an average of 168 in his final year. However, music was soon eclipsed when the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) came to play against the Bedford School XI.

He and his team could not recreate that magic for the semi-final, at the same location against the same team three days later, after being caught from a fine running catch by Sajid Mahmood, seeing the team lose by 67 runs.

Having been knocked out of the FP Trophy, the team turned to the Twenty20 Cup.

Cook later claimed the amount of focus and concentration required to keep practising while undergoing regular school hours helped with his batting.

As a boy, his family lived in Wickham Bishops in Essex.

The 2009 English season featured an early Test series against the West Indies where, despite being in the Test team, Cook joined Essex in a tour match.

He scored 76 not out in the second innings before the match was rained off, stopping Essex pressing for victory.

After the Test series, Cook was omitted from the one day side leaving him free to play for Essex.

He joined them in their bid to defend their Friends Provident Trophy matching Varun Chopra's 65 in a 124 run partnership against Lancashire to gain a place in the semi-final.

After his England call up, Cook's appearances at Essex significantly reduced.