Having taken over as skipper in August 2012 from Andrew Strauss, Alastair Cook had big boots to fill. And Cook led England with élan for close to five years. A prolific scorer with a bat in hand, Cook led from the front and was an inspirational leader, taking the team to greater heights.
Cook discussed his future with England and Wales Cricket Board chairman Colin Graves on Sunday and stepped down as skipper of the Test team on Monday. But the batsman has confirmed that he will continue to wear the England cap.
CricketNext takes a look at his top-five series wins as skipper:
2012 Series Against India in India
Beating India in their own backyard is a dream not even Steve Waugh’s invincible Aussie side could manage back in 2001. And the start was just as disastrous for the English side under Alastair Cook as they lost the first Test in Ahmedabad by 9 wickets.
But post that, it was a series completely dominated by the English side with Cook leading from the front. His strategies caught MS Dhoni and his men off guard as England not only won the second Test in Mumbai by 10 wickets, but also took the series by defeating India in the third Test in Kolkata by 7 wickets. The fourth Test ended in a draw in Nagpur.
If Cook topped the batting charts with 562 runs, Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar were Cook’s go-to-men with the ball in hand. The two combined to pick 37 wickets in the 3-match series. Not to forget Kevin Pietersen who amassed 338 runs.
The oldest rivalry in the history of the gentleman’s game, the 2013 series also started off with a bang as both teams looked to gain the upper hand. But England won the first Test by 14 runs to take the advantage.
Brimming with confidence, Cook’s boys went on to take the second match by a mammoth 347 runs as a young Joe Root took the cricketing world by storm with his innings of 180 in the second innings. The third Test was a draw, but England were quickly back on track to win the fourth Test and take an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five match series. The fifth Test was again a draw.
Cook’s stature as skipper of the England side grew further after this comprehensive series win against the arch-rivals.
2014 Series Against India at Home
Not known to be good travellers, MS Dhoni and boys were expected to be steamrolled by Alastair Cook and Co. But surprisingly, after a dull draw in the first game, it was India who took the series by the scruff of the neck as they beat the hosts at Lord’s by 95 runs.
With skipper Cook out-of-form, the axe was out, but Cook rose from the ashes like a phoenix to not only hit 95 in the first innings of the third Test, but also hit an unbeaten 70 in the second innings as England thrashed India by 266 runs.
And that was the impetus the English team needed as they went on to come from behind to lift the series 3-1.
The 2015 series will forever be remembered for the spell by Stuart Broad on the first morning of the fourth Test in Trent Bridge. Deciding to bowl first after winning the toss, even Alastair Cook wouldn’t have expected Broad to reward him the way the pacer did. Broad bowled a lethal spell and finished with figures of 8/15 as Australia folded up for 60 as England won by an innings and 78 runs.
It was a very well balanced series otherwise as both Steve Smith and Cook led the teams with aplomb. But in the end, it was a series that England won 3-2. Cook was hailed as one of England’s best Test skippers as he bagged his second Ashes series.
2015-16 Series Against South Africa in South Africa
England’s clashes with South Africa in the longer format has always made for interesting viewing and it was no different this time round. Even though England won the four-match series 2-1, it was much closer than what the scoreboard suggested.
Fortunes fluctuated in all the games except for the first game when a poor display of batsmanship by the Proteas outfit saw them lose the game by 241 runs. The second Test ended in a draw on a batting paradise in Cape Town with both teams scoring over 600 runs in the first innings. England returned to take the third Test by 7 wickets as Stuart Broad once again stole the show. Broad knocked down South Africa for just 83 in the second essay as he finished with figures of 6/17.
South Africa came back strongly in the fourth Test to win by 280 runs in Centurion. But it was too late in the day as Cook and his boys had already pocketed the series 2-1.