Alastair Cook has stepped down as England’s Test captain but plans to carry on as a player, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said on Monday.
Cook, who was appointed captain in 2012, led England in 59 Tests, which includes Ashes victories at home in 2013 and 2015 as well as series wins in India and South Africa.
ECB has started the process to appoint the next Test captain with batting mainstay Joe Root regarded as the favourite for the job.
“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,” Cook said in a statement.
“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,” England’s most capped Test captain said referring to last year’s 4-0 loss in India.
The 32-year-old has scored more Test centuries than any of his predecessors and is also the country’s most prolific Test batsman with 11,057 runs in 140 Tests.
“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,” he added.