After becoming captain in 2012 and leading his country to 24 victories (including 2 Ashes triumphs) Alastair Cook's future in charge of the national side remains uncertain following comments made in an interview with Cricketer magazine:
“Deep down I don’t know how much longer I am going to carry on. It could be two months, it could be a year," he admitted.
The 31-year-old will represent England for a 54th time (breaking Michael Atherton’s record) on Wednesday when the initial Test starts in Rajkot but, while his achievements are not in question, his desire to remain as England skipper is definitely not as obvious.
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“I do look forward to the day when I can hopefully play for England as just a batter, there’s no doubt about that," he added.
“If that happens I am going to really enjoy standing at first slip and being the bloke who makes suggestions to whoever’s in charge and not being the bloke who has to make the final decision.”
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Cook’s success as a batter is impressive, scoring 10,688 runs in 135 Tests – England’s all-time record-holder and 11th overall – so the fact he may wish to focus solely on his batting rather than team delegation may not be the worst news for the rest of team.
Vaughan on Cook
While the Essex batter may not see himself as captain for much longer, former England skipper Michael Vaughan is of the opinion he has more years left in him and it would premature of him to stand down so soon.
“Those next six or seven weeks are not crucial for Cook," he said.
"He is breaking records and has four or five years left as a batsman, if his mind wants to play that long."
He goes on to say, while talking on his own cricket show on BBC Radio 5 live, that he believes Cook would be able to make the transition from captain to first slip with minimal effort.
“It depends on the character of the person, to be able to step away from the captaincy but stay in the side.
"He is the perfect sort of character to do that. He wouldn’t want to step on the new captain’s toes, he’d be a real good sounding board and be able to see when the new captain is under stress. He would be the perfect foil.”
Cook's England career far from over
According to Vaughan, even if Cook were to stand down, his role in the national side could be far from over.
“I do get the sense that he will get to the stage, whether it’s the end of India or the Ashes in a year’s time, where he will say: ‘I like the idea of standing on first slip and batting for a few more years."
At the moment, even if he remains uncertain as to when he will stand down as captain, he has clearly enjoyed the experience and becoming England’s most successful batter of all time can more than likely be attributed to leading his country on numerous monumental occasions.
“It makes me feel very satisfied that I’ve been able to do it for a long period of time and I’ve had a really good crack at it.
“There have been some tough moments and amazing moments and you can enjoy that success that little bit more because of what you go through as England captain.”
Of course, from what he has said it is not definitive whether he will stand down as soon as the India Test Series comes to an end or not. No doubt fans of Cook and followers of the national team will hope the man from Gloucester stays on the steady the ship for one final Ashes tour in Australia next year.