Sports Personality of the Year 2011 top 10: Alastair Cook

Alastair Cook has turned his form around over the past 12 months, becoming a key part of the England side which won the Ashes in Australia on the way to being crowned the number one Test team in the world.

The 26-year-old went into the Ashes series at the end of 2010 struggling for runs and in danger of losing his status as England's opening batsman.

But after scoring 766 runs across the five Ashes Tests to earn the Man of the Series award, Cook says the turnaround has made the good times even sweeter.

"Form is one of those strange things that comes and goes," Cook explained.

"What helped me is that I was in such a bad run of form and then a good run of form so quickly it really made me appreciate the good form I was in and made me want to cash in and I certainly felt I did that over the past 12 months."

This summer Cook's fine Test form continued as he made a mammoth 294 against India at Edgbaston - the sixth highest score by an Englishman, and the best since Graham Gooch's 333 against the same opposition in 1990 - as England cruised to a 4-0 series whitewash.

"As a batter you're judged on match-winning performances and they are hundreds," said Cook.

However, the Essex man, disappointed by falling six runs off the 300 mark against India, added: "If you get 99 or 100, I know it's only one run difference but psychologically it is a big difference."

Cook's form was also recognised when he was appointed England one-day captain - and he immediately led the team to a home series victory over World Cup winners India, while averaging more than 42.

There was disappointment for Cook in 2011 as England crashed to a 5-0 series whitewash in the one-day series in India but the Gloucester-born batsman remains one of the stand out players in a fantastic year for England.

Stories from Cook's year:

England seal Ashes series triumph

Opener Cook named England's MVP