Alastair Cook has stepped down as England’s Captain in Test format, after lead the in 59 tests in past 4 plus years. After that unsuccessful test series in India during November – December, 2016, questions on Cook’s captaincy was raised from various sides and Cook has now confirmed he will pass on the captaincy, with Joe Root his likely successor.
Cook took the test captaincy role back in 2012 and he led the team in more test matches than any other England captain. He gave a successful Ashes victories at home in 2013 and 2015, as well as series wins in India (2012) and South Africa. He quits the captaincy, but he confirmed that he will continue to play as an opening batsman in the format.
Cook discussed his decision with Colin Graves, the chairman of the ECB, on Sunday evening and has confirmed his continuing commitment to playing Test cricket to Andrew Strauss, England’s team director, and the selectors. Strauss suggested Cook’s replacement would be named before the ODI tour to the West Indies later this month, with Root favourite to be be named as England’s new captain – the 80th in their Test history – in the coming days.
“It’s been a huge honour to be England captain and to lead the Test team over the past five years,” Cook said. He added, “It’s a sad day personally in many ways but I want to thank everyone I’ve captained, all the coaches and support staff and, of course, the England supporters and the Barmy Army who follow us home and away and have given us unwavering support”.
Strauss, the man from whom Cook inherited the Test captaincy in 2012, paid tribute to his former opening partner and explained the next steps in appointing a successor. “I want to thank Alastair, on behalf of the ECB and from a personal perspective, for the fantastic contribution that he’s made to the England Test team since taking over as captain in 2012,” Strauss said.
Cook first captained England in Bangladesh in 2010, deputising for the rested Strauss. After taking over permanently in 2012, Cook led from the front with three centuries as England came from behind to win their first Test series in India in 28 years. England retained the Ashes with a 3-0 win the following summer but cracks were beginning to show and Australia took swift revenge a few months later.
The 5-0 whitewash left England needing to rebuild, and the decision to do so without the involvement of Kevin Pietersen was one of the most controversial of Cook’s reign. Beaten at home by Sri Lanka at the start of the 2014 summer, England then lost the second Test to India at Lord’s, prompting Cook to consider resigning. He chose to continue but his hopes of leading England at the 2015 World Cup were dashed when the ECB sacked him less than two months before the tournament.
Although England’s progress was recently checked by two difficult tours of the subcontinent – drawing 1-1 with Bangladesh before being outclassed by India – Cook had retained the support of his players and the coaching staff. His decision to step down comes during a seven-month gap between Test commitments and gives his successor time to prepare for home series against South Africa and West Indies, before the challenge of another Ashes tour to Australia.
Apart from all the debates, Alastair proved as a successful test captain. As he going to continue his role as opening batsman, expecting much better performances from him in upcoming tours and rest of the season.