Cook steps down as England Test captain

Alastair Cook Joe Root

"England definitely need his batting". Cook at 32, quit as England skipper after four-and-a-half years of captaincy.

Most notably in 2014, Warne called on the left-hander to give away the Test leadership in order to focus on his batting, after witnessing what he termed the "worst day of captaincy" he'd seen at global level during England's home series loss to Sri Lanka.

"But England backed him and he's done a great job over the last couple of years".

Was Alastair Cook a successful England test captain?

Cook led his country to Ashes glory on home soil in 2013 and 2015 as well as series wins in India and South Africa. It may not have always gone smoothly, but he deserves to be remembered as an honest and hardworking leader who had the interests of England always at the forefront of his mind. Sir Botham feels now that Cook has given up his captaincy, he will have more freedom to express himself and not get caught up in a web.

"Coming back from India I didn't think I could do it and it's a job you can't operate at 95 per cent".

But in between those Ashes successes came a chastening 5-0 series whitewash in Australia in 2013/14 and the fall-out from the effective sacking of star batsman Kevin Pietersen that followed.

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Cook played an influential role in the ending of Kevin Pietersen's worldwide career in February 2014 as the fallout from the harrowing Ashes series continued.

No sooner did Cook announce his decision on Monday than Pietersen took to Twitter.

He added: "I know how draining the England captaincy can be, especially on a long tour away from home like they've just had and especially when you're on the wrong end of results". The ECB statement that referred to people "outside cricket" criticising the team, the then ECB chairman Giles Clarke saying that Cook was from the "right sort of family", the refusal to find any fault in Cook while laying all the blame at Pietersen's feet.

"Joe's had a little bit of experience doing it for Yorkshire, albeit not a great deal, but this sort of thing is usually the case with the England captaincy nowadays", he said.

Cook oversaw a historic series win in South Africa in 2015-16 and past year England came within one win against Pakistan of topping the ICC Test rankings.

He made an impressive return to the Test side in India with a fine 76 in Mumbai after more than a year out of the side. "I was part of that decision, I wasn't the be-all-and-end-all of it, but what followed was part of the responsibility I had as England captain". Hopefully, his journey towards the very top of the Test run-scoring charts is given a boost by this decision.

Strauss is pleased Cook also took the time available to make the right call. He was the leading England scorer in Tests with 11,057 runs to his name.

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