Alastair Cook used the example of Virat Kohli when asked if becoming England’s Test captain could hinder Joe Root’s run scoring.
Kohli has hit eight centuries in 22 Tests since becoming India captain and dominated the series against England with a ruthless pursuit of run scoring.
Like Root, he also plays in all three formats, in fact he now captains India in every one, and is at exactly the stage of his career. Kohli is slightly older, 28 to Root’s 26, but they have both played 53 Tests.
“That is always a valid argument in one sense but it has driven the batting of others to another level. Virat Kohli for example has flourished, Steve Smith has flourished, Kane Williamson as well,” said Cook, who himself averaged 60 in his first 17 innings as captain.
Cook stuck to the party line to the end, simply referring to Root as one of the outstanding candidates for the job. It would be extraordinary if he was passed over having been made vice-captain two years ago and groomed for the captaincy.
“The fact he’s been vice-captain for the last two years makes him the most likely candidate and Strauss has clearly seen some leadership qualities in him,” said Cook.
“He’s got a very very good cricket brain, he’s a part of the newer generation of cricketers and he’s a bloody good cricketer who demands respect in the dressing room because of that. I think he’ll be an outstanding candidate. Also a little bit leftfield might be Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Jonny Bairstow who will come into consideration because of their standing in the dressing room and the way they drive things. They are very special.”
His advice to his successor was simple. “It would be ‘make sure you don’t always do it your way’. There are a lot of great people out there who watch a lot of cricket and know probably more than you do or anyone does, so (you should) use that advice and be open to it. Ultimately you have to make that decision out there but use as much advice as you can because a lot of people want you to do very well, because people love seeing England win games of cricket.”
England hope to make an appointment before the team heads to the West Indies on Feb 22 and Root could be in position as early as next week.
© Nick Hoult, Cricket News Correspondent, The Telegraph