Cook steps downs as England Test captain

England’s Test skipper Alastair Cook has stepped down from his role after 59 Tests, ending a four-and-a-half year reign, the England and Whales cricket board has confirmed. However, the 32-year-old will continue to play as a specialist batsman in the side.

The ECB has also confirmed said that they have initiated the process to appoint Cook’s successor, with Vice Captain Joe Root likely to become the England’s 80th Test skipper.

Cook, 32, is England’s most capped Test captain, has also scored more Test centuries than any of his previous predecessor. He is also the England’s most prolific run-getter with 11,057 in 140 Test and currently sits 10th on the overall leading run scorers list.

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His major achievements include Ashes victories at home in 2013 and 2015, and series wins in India and South Africa. With 24 wins, he is joint-second as England’s most successful Test skipper but, with recent 0-4 defeat in India, he also surpassed Michael Atherton’s record for most defeats.

“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.”

Andrew Strauss, the ECB’s director of cricket, lauded the contribution of his former opening partner and explained the next steps in appointing the next English captain.

“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 taking over as captain in 2012,” Strauss said.

“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.

“We now move on with the process of appointing the right successor. There are a number of established players who are playing formal or informal leadership roles and whilst we’ve rightly not spoken to anyone in relation to the Test captaincy so far, we can now talk fully and openly within the team. We expect to be able to make an announcement before the team head to the West Indies on February 22.”

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