Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

COOK QUITS AS CAPTAIN BUT IS HOPING TO STAY COOK QUITS AS ENGLAND CAPTAIN BUT HOPES TO PLAY ON; ROOT FAVOURITE TO STEP UP TO TEST ROLE AS SKIPPER DECIDES TO CONCENTRATE ON BATTINGContinued from Back Page

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

COOK QUITS AS CAPTAIN BUT IS HOPING TO STAY COOK QUITS AS ENGLAND CAPTAIN BUT HOPES TO PLAY ON; ROOT FAVOURITE TO STEP UP TO TEST ROLE AS SKIPPER DECIDES TO CONCENTRATE ON BATTINGContinued from Back Page

Article excerpt

Byline: Tom Collomosse Cricket Correspondent

ALASTAIR COOK today quit as England Test captain but declared his intention to carry on playing for the side as an opening batsman.

Cook handed in his resignation to ECB chairman Colin Graves last night, bringing to a close his four-and-a-halfyear stint in the job.

England managing director Andrew Strauss hopes to announce Cook's replacement before England depart for a limited-overs tour of West Indies on February 22, with Joe Root the overwhelming favourite to succeed the 32-year-old.

Strauss hailed his former opening partner as "one of England's great captains".

Cook is thought to have told senior England players of his decision last night and this morning, while Standard Sport understands key players will be consulted about the team's direction before the new captain is named.

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, the chairman, to explain and offer my resignation.

"It's been a huge honour to be England captain and to lead the Test team over the past five years. 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.

"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."

The highlights of Cook's 59-Test reign, which began in August 2012, were the win in India in 2012, Ashes success in 2013 and 2015 and victory in South Africa early last year. But he was also in charge for the 5-0 whitewash in Australia in 2013-14 and his last series as captain was the 4-0 defeat in India late last year. The defeat by India in Chennai in December was England's eighth in Tests in 2016.

Strauss's verdict that Cook was a "great" captain is perhaps generous, but his place in the batting pantheon is assured. With 11,057 Test runs, Cook is England's leading scorer and 10th on the all-time list.

Strauss said no successor had been identified, though Root, England's best batsman, is the clear front-runner. Root said last month he felt ready to take over if required.

Root was made Cook's vice-captain in 2015, with Strauss asking the 25-yearold to become more of a leader within the side.

Strauss said: "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.

"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. …

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