Image courtesy of: Zimbio
England director of cricket Andrew Strauss has revealed that he had a strong feeling Alastair Cook would step down as Test captain after meeting him last month.
On Monday, Cook confirmed his decision to resign from the position, which he had held since Strauss retired from all forms of cricket in August 2012.
Strauss met with Cook not long after England were hammered 4-0 in their five-Test tour of India, which concluded in December last year.
Opening up about the talk he had with Cook, Strauss told reporters at Lord’s: “It became pretty clear Alastair felt that a huge amount of energy and drive and commitment was needed to take the England team forward over the next 12-18 months and he had some questions in the back of his mind as to how much he had left in the tank to do that.”
Once Cook had made his decision, Strauss also insisted that he didn’t try to talk the 32-year-old out of stepping down.
“We never got to that stage. If a captain is questioning how much he has left in the tank then he is making that decision himself,” Strauss said.
Cook’s predecessor added that the Gloucester native deserves to be remembered as one of “England’s great captains”, especially for leading the national team to victory in the 2015 Ashes series.
“If I had one memory of him and his captaincy it would be when England won the Ashes in 2015 at Trent Bridge,” Strauss said. “For him to have fashioned a team environment as quickly as he did on the back of everything that had gone on, speaks volumes for him and he was never happier than when the team was doing well. He was certainly never in it for personal glory.”
Even though Cook has given up the captaincy, Strauss feels that the opener can still be hugely beneficial to the Test side and will now also be able to solely focus on his batting.
“I think he’s dealt with the twin challenges of captaincy and performing well — myself and others have struggled,” he said. “Without the travails of the captaincy I believe it will freshen him up immensely. He’s only 32 years of age, he’s potentially got three or four years at least, to concentrate on his game and be unshackled.”
As for Cook’s successor, it is almost set in stone that vice-captain Joe Root will be handed the reins. But, while Strauss admitted that Root is “one of the strong candidates”, he stopped short of confirming that the 26-year-old would be England’s next Test captain.
“Whoever takes over the Test captaincy, will benefit from a period where they can concentrate on themselves as a player,” he said. “It’s worth saying Joe Root has done a very good job as vice-captain, he’s matured a lot over the last two years and there is absolutely no reason he won’t be one of the strong candidates.”