Former England skipper Alastair Cook gave a detailed talk about the thoughts which convinced him to take the decision to quit the role of the Test captain.
Cook, who didn’t speak much with the media after stepping down from the leader’s position in February, had a candid chat with The Times UK recently.
He revealed that the decision was made after spending a lot of time thinking about his contribution to the team and what value he promises to add in the team in the upcoming years. Cook stood down as England Test captain after record-breaking 59 Tests in charge. Speculations about his, quitting the captaincy gathered steam quickly after England was thrashed 4-0 in India in late 2016.
“I started questioning myself on certain decisions, not just tactically on the pitch, but with leadership in general,” Cook told The Times UK about that Pakistan series.
“There is so much about this team. You don’t win an Ashes series (in 2015), having been such heavy underdogs as we were, and win them the way we did, and then go on and beat South Africa (in South Africa), like we did, without having a huge amount about you, but last year we didn’t push on from that. Not to beat Pakistan was disappointing.
“The question that I kept coming back to was, ‘Am I leading the team forward?’
“After doing it for quite a long time, the stuff you say, because of who you are, you end up saying the same stuff in a slightly different way.
“I started questioning what was going to happen over the next few years. The dream of captaining the team to Australia was certainly there, and in my mind, I thought that it would have been a nice way to finish the captaincy.
The series against India helped him make up his mind and handover the responsibility to a younger deserving member in the team. The series in India wasn’t pleasant as it was in 2013.
India played tough cricket and rattled the opposition badly, snapping huge wins over the visiting sides. Cook, who was one of the heroes in the historic win over India on their home soil in 2013, failed badly in the series which cast doubts over his ability.
“It was when we had a break in Dubai between the third and fourth Tests in India that I came back to that question.
“Sometimes getting away and outside the team, the bubble can help and our hotel was out in the sticks. We didn’t see any of the guys. When I came back, it was quite clear in my mind.
“Then came a couple of heavy defeats. By the time of leaving the field at the end of the final Test, I would have been very surprised if I captained again, though nobody knew that.”
Cook, who is England’s highest Test run-scorer, will continue on as a batsman. But, this time he will be playing against his former deputy Joe Root. He will no longer have a secured place in the team. The emergence of younger openers like Haseeb Hameed would push him to perform more prolifically in the coming days.
“Because I’m no longer captain, I have to accept that I am now in the latter stages of my career, however long that may be,” he said.
“How many more times will I walk out at Lord’s? How many more times will I go on an Ashes tour? I really want to keep doing these things, so I will have to work hard.
“I’m motivated by the idea of producing match-defining performances.
“And you’d hope that at 32, you’re a better player than when you started. It would be nice to have a couple of gun years.”
England’s first Test assignment in the ‘Root era’ is a five-match series against South Africa at home starting in July before hosting the West Indies.