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Cook knew it was time to `step aside`, says Strauss

London [UK]: England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) director of cricket Andrew Strauss believes Alastair Cook’s decision to step down from the post of Test captain stemmed from his reservations about “how much he had left in the tank”.

Cook, who led the England side for a record 59 Tests, stepped down from the post on Monday. And it is expected that the ECB would name Cook’s successor in the next fortnight.

“This wasn’t one of those situations when it was right for me to persuade him to carry on,” ESPNcricinfo quoted Strauss as saying.

“I’ve been there myself. You either know if you have got it in you to carry on, or, deep down, you know it’s time to step aside.

Cook’s decision comes days after England suffered a 0-4 defeat at the hands of India in the five-match Test series.

“He did it the right way. He didn’t jump to conclusions; he allowed the dust to settle after the India tour, he took some time to speak to the people closest to him, whom he trusted. I support and understand that decision,” Strauss, from whom Cook inherited the captaincy back in 2012, said.

Strauss further revealed that after the India Tour, Cook told everyone that he’d sit down with the former and talk things through, both about the lessons of the tour and what the team could to get better and also his own position as well.

“We met up in January and I was interested to see how he had fared in India. I know how draining the England captaincy can be, especially on a long tour away from home when you are on the wrong end of the result,” the 39-year-old said.

“So we had a conversation around that, and it was pretty clear that Alastair knew how much drive, determination and energy was going to be required of the England captain in the next 12 months or so.”

“He had some thoughts and reservations about how much he had left in the tank as England’s longest-serving Test captain, and it was right that we didn’t jump to conclusions, and let the dust settle. I allowed him to go away and think further. But, over the last ten days or so, it was clear his mind was made up,” he added.

The former England skipper also insisted that the search for Cook’s successor would only now begin in earnest

“There is a process to go through.It would have been entirely wrong for me to have spoken to other players about the captaincy before Alastair stepped down, and especially while two important white-ball series were going on in India,” Strauss said.

It is almost certain that England’s batting mainstay Joe Root will be given the mantle to lead the side in the longest format of the game.

Root will have a full four months of preparation before England’s next Test series against South Africa in July.

One thing against the maverick right-hand batsman is his lack of captaincy. However, the England’s cricket director doesn’t feel that it is much of a concern.

“That is the reality in this day and age.It’s very hard for England players to get a great deal of county captaincy experience. But on one level there’s only so much you can do to prepare yourself. I think playing in the set-up for a number of years and understanding the demands is more important,” he said.

“[Cook’s decision] gives the new captain a huge amount of time to get used to the idea and have conversations about off-the-field stuff with the coaches and support staff, so that when he steps on the field for the first time as England captain in July, a lot of that stuff will already be taken care of,” he added.

Cook, who was appointed as the captain in August 2012, is England’s most capped Test skipper so far, having led the side to Ashes victories at home in 2013 and 2015 as well as series wins in India and South Africa.

The opening batsman, who is England’s most prolific Test batsman with 11,057 runs in 140 matches till date, also led the one-day side for 69 matches between 2010 and 2014, which is another England record. (ANI)