Image courtesy of: Zimbio
After months of speculation, Alastair Cook has stepped down as England Test captain.
Cook, who was appointed captain in August 2012, was in charge for 59 Tests, more than any other England captain in history.
During the 32-year-old’s tenure at the helm, England won the Ashes on home soil in 2013 and 2015 and also triumphed in Test series in India and South Africa.
But, as of late, things have not gone well for England in the longest format as they drew 2-2 with Pakistan last summer before being held to a shocking 1-1 draw in their two-Test series against Bangladesh in October. Following that, they were thrashed 4-0 in a five-Test series in India.
While Cook’s successor is yet to be announced, all signs point to vice-captain Joe Root taking over.
“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, the Chairman, 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.”
The rumours about Cook’s time as skipper coming to an end began just prior to the tour of India late last year when he told The Cricketer Magazine: “Deep down I don’t know how much longer I am going to carry on. It could be two months, it could be a year.”
As the series progressed, the signs became increasingly clear that he was leaning towards resigning, especially as he said that Root was “ready” to captain England in Test cricket.
England’s director of cricket and Cook’s predecessor Andrew Strauss said: “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 2012.
“His country owes him a great debt of gratitude; he’s led the team with determination, conviction and a huge amount of pride over the last five years and his record stands for itself.
“With more matches leading the team than anyone, including two Ashes wins, he deserves to be seen as one of our country’s great captains.”