On this day in 2017: Sir Alastair Cook steps down as England Test captain

Sir Alastair Cook stepped down from his role as captain of England’s Test cricket team on this day in 2017.

Cook’s 59 Tests in charge made him the nation’s longest-serving captain, until he was overtaken by his successor Joe Root, with his spell at the helm beginning in 2013.

Throughout that period Cook won eight of his 17 series in charge, including notable successes in India in 2012 and South Africa in 2015-16.

Alastair Cook
England’s Alastair Cook celebrates reaching his century during his final Test match against India at The Kia Oval, London (Adam Davy/PA)

Cook also led the team to two home triumphs in the Ashes, in both 2013 and 2015, and a Test record that totalled 24 wins and 22 defeats.

The batsman cited a loss of energy as the reasoning behind his resignation, concluding that the team would benefit from new leadership and deciding to devote his full focus to his batting.

Cook, whose last series as captain was a 4-0 defeat to India, said: “It’s been a huge honour to be England captain and to lead the Test team over the past five years.

“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. We’ve kind of stagnated if we are being brutally honest.

Alastair Cook
Joe Root (left) succeeded Alastair Cook (right) when he stepped down as England captain (Adam Davy/PA)

“There is a lot of work to be done and I felt I just didn’t have that energy to do it. That’s part of the parcel of being captain, you are responsible.”

Cook remained a part of the squad under new captain Root until 2018, when he announced his retirement from international cricket after 12 years as a part of the England team, signing off with a century against India in his final innings.

In 2019 Cook was the recipient of a knighthood in the Queen’s New Year Honours.