Alastair Cook has stepped down from his role after 59 Tests as England captain. His appetite to continue had been questioned during England’s 4-0 defeat to India before Christmas and Cook has now confirmed he will pass on the captaincy, with Joe Root his likely successor.
Appointed in August 2012, Cook led the team in more Test matches than any other England captain. His record includes Ashes victories at home in 2013 and 2015, as well as series wins in India and South Africa. With 24 Test wins, he is joint-second as England’s most successful captain but five losses in seven Tests over the winter meant he also eclipsed Michael Atherton’s record for defeats.
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.
Cook, 32, is England’s most-capped Test player, their most prolific batsman with 11,057 runs in 140 Tests to date, and has scored more Test centuries than any of his countrymen. He also led the one-day side on 69 occasions between 2010 and 2014, another England record.
During his five seasons at the helm he was named Wisden Cricketer of the Year (2012) and ICC World Test Captain (2013) and his services to the game were recognised with a CBE – collected at Buckingham Palace on Friday – to follow the MBE he was awarded in 2011.
“It’s been a huge honour to be England captain and to lead the Test team over the past five years,” Cook said. “Stepping down has been an incredibly hard decision but I know this is the correct decision for me and at the right time for the team. I’ve had time to reflect after the India series and this weekend I spoke to Colin Graves to explain and offer my resignation.
“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.
“Playing for England really is a privilege and I hope to carry on as a Test player, making a full contribution and helping the next England captain and the team however I can.”