From a mental perspective, quitting captaincy and playing as an ordinary team member is a tough job. Former England skipper Alastair Cook is undergoing the same phase in his career at the moment. The left-hander opener played his first Test as a ‘normal’ member of the side recently at Lord’s since quitting the Test captaincy earlier this year.
Having led the side from 2012 to 2017, Cook spent a considerable amount of time at the top position to feel nostalgic about his days as the leader.
No regrets, but sad
Cook admits that he has no regrets about his decision. He feels that the time was right to step down and give an opportunity to his suitable successor Joe Root.
The pressure of taking a call on his future as a Test cricketer and more importantly as the captain was mounting on him after the Test series against India in India. Eventually, after a good Christmas break, Cook decided to move on and made the final announcement.
The just concluded Lord’s Test was his first as a non-captain and in the post-match interview he frankly agreed that he felt the absence of the special job that he’ll “never do again”.
“I am happy with my decision,” Cook said. “The only bit was seeing Rooty walk down the stairs in his blazer and working out you will never do that again.
The moment of realisation
There is always a moment of realisation when the truth comes out completely naked. When Joe Root walked out for toss wearing the captain’s blazer, Cook, standing in the balcony, finally understood that he was now just an ordinary member.
He also understood the change in the hierarchy shortly after the game commenced after vice-captain Ben Stokes asked him to shift his fielding position and ask James Anderson take his place.
“The shock was when Ben Stokes told me to move fielding positions. That was when I realised that life was different. He told me to swap with Jimmy because he thought Jimmy would be better in that position. So not only did I have Jimmy gloating at me but Ben Stokes telling me where to move.
“It was different. More the first couple of days of preparation, having spent three or four years being the focal point of decisions. Even when the 12-man squad was announced, I forgot the thought and effort that went into that. It is very different to being captain.
“But I have done my bit. I gave everything to the role and I move on from it. Let’s get behind Joe.”