Alastair Cook steps down as England cricket captain

He steps down after a record 59 tests with his country

Alastair Cook

Image: Tsering Topgyal AP/Press Association Images

Alastair Cook has stepped down as captain of the England Test cricket team.

He's decided to quit the role following their 4-0 series defeat in India before Christmas. Cook led the team in 59 matches - winning the Ashes in 2013 and 2015. He'll continue to play as a batsman.

"It's been a huge honour to be England captain and to lead the Test team over the past five years," he said in a statement today.

"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.

"I've had time to reflect after the India series and this weekend I spoke to Colin Graves, the chairman, to explain and offer my resignation.

"It's a sad day personally in many ways but I want to thank everyone I've captained, all the coaches and support staff and, of course, the England supporters and the Barmy Army who follow us home and away and have given us unwavering support.

"Playing for England really is a privilege and I hope to carry on as a Test player, making a full contribution and helping the next England captain and the team however I can."

Alastair Cook celebrates with the Ashes urn back in 2015. Image: John Walton EMPICS Sport