Cook: Root would ‘be an outstanding candidate’

“He’s a very good cricketer and he demands respect in the changing room”

Image courtesy of: Zimbio

Alastair Cook has admitted that vice-captain Joe Root would be “an outstanding candidate” to succeed him as England’s Test captain.

Cook stepped down from the position on Monday and while Root is widely regarded as the frontrunner to replace the 32-year-old, Cook had a few more names on his mind that could also be in the running to take control of the reins.

“There is a good group of strong, young cricketers in that team who will drive England forward again,” he told Sky Sports. “I hope to be part of it in a slightly different role.

“Joe has got a very, very good cricket brain, he’s part of a newer generation and he’s a very good cricketer and he demands respect in the changing room because of that. I think he’d be an outstanding candidate.

“I also think that – and this is slightly more left-field in one sense – Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler and Jonny Bairstow would probably come into consideration because of their standing in the dressing room and just looking at the way they operate, and the way they drive other things in the changing room as well is very special. I’m really looking forward to seeing how the new side evolves.”

Cook took almost six weeks to confirm his decision to resign, but the Gloucester native admitted that after the national team were beaten 4-0 by India in their recent Test series, he knew that his tenure as captain had come to an end.

“I just felt that the team needed a push in a different direction,” he said. “I think getting on that plane leaving India, if I was being brutally honest, I would have been very surprised if I captained again.

“But I really wanted to make sure I gave myself enough time to make sure it was the right decision because of what you are giving away.

“That was the hard bit, being honest with myself and admitting that it is time to go because it is such an amazing job to do. Yes, there are some tough moments but walking out as England captain is very special.”

Cook also revealed that he put himself first rather than the team when thinking about the decision to step down.

“This one was quite a selfish decision. It was me looking at myself, and the team,” he added. “I think sometimes there is a natural time for a leader [to make way] for a new voice.”

Nonetheless, Cook made it clear that he had no regrets during his 59 Tests in charge, which is the most by an England captain in history.

“It’s disappointing because I know I can’t give any more, that’s probably the overriding thing because I’ve really enjoyed the challenge of it,” Cook said. “The dressing room has been fantastic, the support of the players has been brilliant but I think hearing a new voice could help.

“I couldn’t give the required level anymore but I can certainly do that with my batting and, if the new guys will let me, lead in a different way I the changing room.”

Once Cook made the tough choice to give up the captaincy, there was speculation that his international career would come to an end, but the veteran opening batsman has insisted that nothing could be further from the truth.

“I genuinely love playing cricket at the moment, I really enjoy the challenge of batting and I really enjoyed the challenge of captaincy and whatever it threw at me,” he said.

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