Cricket

James Anderson thought Alastair Cook would quit as captain

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James Anderson has praised Alastair Cook's resilience, admitting there were times he thought England's Ashes-winning skipper would step down in the face of harsh criticism.

Cook had his leadership skills attacked and his very place in the side questioned as both he and England toiled over a difficult 18-month period.

With many calling for Cook's head in the Test arena he was also dealt the blow of being ousted as one-day captain, but Anderson is delighted he has hit back in the best possible way, lifting the urn at Trent Bridge.

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"I'll be honest, there were times when I thought Cooky was going to quit as captain," England's all-time leading wicket taker said in his column in the Sun.

"His leadership was criticised, even his personality was vilified. He was subjected to all manner of attacks. But he never lost the respect and support of his players and has now become only the third man after WG Grace and Mike Brearley to captain England to two Ashes successes at home."

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Despite the pressure seemingly closing in on him from all angles, Anderson says Cook's priority was always what was best for the team.

"The way he spoke at times, he sounded as though he'd had enough of the scrutiny and pressure," he added.

"He could easily have walked away - a less determined man would have done - but he was always thinking about the best interests of the team."

Anderson, meanwhile, who missed out on playing in the fourth Test after picking up a side strain at Edgbaston the week before, is working hard to get back for the fifth and final Ashes Test.

"I'd love to play at The Oval because it will be a joyous, celebratory occasion and I'll do everything to try to get fit," he said.

"But, with the series wrapped up, there's no point playing unless I'm 100 per cent."

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Topics:
James Anderson (cricket)
England cricket
Cricket

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