Alastair Cook: Playing under new England captain ‘not an issue’ following resignation

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Alastair Cook still ‘hungry’ to score runs for England

Alastair Cook says playing under another England captain will “not be an issue” following his resignation as skipper on Monday.

The 32-year-old opening batsman led England a record 59 times in Tests.

“I hope I can help the next captain with whatever he needs and drive England forward,” Cook told BBC Sport.

“I can’t see, for me, it being an issue being led by someone else. I hope I can be part of it and I’m really looking forward to the next stage.”

Cook took over the England captaincy in 2012 and oversaw series victories in India and South Africa, as well as Ashes victories in 2013 and 2015.

However his tenure also saw a 5-0 Ashes whitewash in Australia in 2013-14, as well as a 4-0 series defeat in India last year.

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He is England’s top run scorer in Test cricket with 11,057 runs and 30 centuries.

“It’s a job you need to do at 100% and be committed to everything and I had to be really honest with myself,” Cook added.

“I couldn’t do that anymore. It’s not a job you can do at 95%. I’m sad to walk away but it’s the right time to do it.”

‘Giving captaincy up was hard’


Alastair Cook’s side lost four Tests in India and one in Bangladesh as they struggled over the winter

Cook’s last game in charge saw England slip to an innings-and-75-run defeat against India, the culmination of a run of six defeats in their past eight Tests.

The Essex batsman, who was left visibly upset by the final day’s collapse, said after the game that he would consider his future as captain.

“That was kind of maybe the final nail in the coffin. When I left India, I was pretty sure I wouldn’t captain England again,” Cook said.

“Admitting that isn’t the easiest thing to do, certainly not with my character, but it’s the right decision for me and the right decision for the team.

“It’s such an honour to be England captain and all the bits that go with it. Everything I have been involved with, 59 games as captain, I’ve absolutely loved. Giving that away was very hard.”

Next captain should take outside advice

Vice-captain Joe Root is the favourite to take over the Test captaincy, having led Yorkshire several times in the County Championship.

The 26-year-old, who represents England across all three formats, has scored 4,594 runs at an average of 52.80 since making his debut in 2012.

England face Test series in the summer against South Africa and the West Indies, before travelling to Australia in November for the Ashes.

“The one thing I learnt throughout my career as captain is that you need those people outside, looking in, to help you,” Cook said.

“My first couple of years I was pretty stubborn that this is the way I should do it, and I didn’t take that much advice outside of England.

“Actually there’s a lot of very good people who watch a lot of cricket, probably more than all of the guys who are playing, who can offer advice. Finding people you trust that way is vitally important and they can help you.”

Warm receptions in tough times ‘surprised’ Cook

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Alastair Cook: One of England’s greats

Cook has a win percentage of 40.67 as captain, the fourth best of the six captains to have led England in more than 40 Tests.

As captain he managed the return – and subsequent ending – of batsman Kevin Pietersen’s international career in 2014, a year which saw England lose a Test series against Sri Lanka from the penultimate delivery in Headingley and collapse to a 95-run defeat by India at Lord’s.

Cook described himself as being “pretty much at rock bottom” following the Lord’s defeat, but he received a warm ovation from the crowd in Southampton during England’s next Test, where he made 95.

“When you’re really doubting yourself, to walk out there on that first day was really special for me. It was almost spine-tingling,” he said.

“It surprised me, to have that warmth of reception. A lot of people walked up to me in the street, saying I was the right man to drive it forward.”

Cook added that he felt the decision to end Pietersen’s England career should have been handled better, and that he did not want the saga to define his captaincy.

“I was part of the decision-making process but I don’t have the power, or didn’t have the power, to decide who played for England. I was just asked my opinion about it,” he said.

“However I felt at one time I was a bit of a lightning rod for it. That was a hard six months.

“I wouldn’t want my captaincy to be talked about just because of that. I don’t think it’s fair on myself or on the teams.”


‘Cook has plenty of scoring to do’ – analysis

Former England spinner Monty Panesar on BBC Radio 5 live

Cook has plenty of years left in him and plenty of scoring to do, so I would like to say keep going, keep scoring the runs because he is a run machine.

He is definitely one of the best captains England has ever produced. When the pressure is on, he has the ability to stay calm.

He is probably the toughest cricketer England have ever produced and probably the most mentally tough.

Former England seamer Matthew Hoggard

I don’t think there will be any issues with Cook playing under a new captain. [Cook and Root] are good friends and they get on well.

Without the burden of having to do all the press, the meetings, the thinking on the pitch, you might find Cook goes on and breaks many records with the bat.

Listen to The Tuffers and Vaughan Show on BBC Radio 5 live, Tuesday, 19:30 GMT.