London: Alastair Cook has stepped down as captain of the England Test team, as informed by the England and Wales Cricket Board. The decision comes a little over a month after England were thrashed 0-4 by India in a Test series that concluded in December 2016.
Cook resigned from his position after discussions with the Chairman of the England & Wales Cricket Board, Colin Graves, on Sunday evening and has confirmed his continuing commitment to playing Test cricket to Director of England Cricket, Andrew Strauss, and the selectors.
ECB in a press release said that Cook's resignation has been accepted and the proper process has started to appoint England's next Test captain - the 80th in England’s Test match history.
Appointed in August 2012, Cook led the team through more Test matches than any other England captain. His record includes Ashes victories at home in 2013 and 2015 as well as series wins in India and South Africa. He also led the one-day side for 69 one-day internationals between 2010 and 2014, another England record.
Confirming his decision, Alastair Cook 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."
Speaking about Cook's contributions as captain and player, former England captain and current Director of England Cricket, Andrew Strauss said that "the country owes him (Cook) a great debt of gratitude."
Strauss also said that the next England Test captain will be appointed soon.
"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 and 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. We expect to be able to make an announcement before the team head to the West Indies on 22nd February," he said.