9 Nov 2016

Cook plays down talk of quitting captaincy

6:58 am on 9 November 2016

Alastair Cook has played down speculation about his future as England's Test cricket captain and has said he is doing the job on a series by series basis.

Cook will break the record for most Tests as England Test captain when he leads his side on to the field in Rajkot tonight for their first of five Tests against India.

Cook appeared to hint that he may step down as from the role after the five-match series in India in a recent interview.

Alastair Cook - the NZ series has set England up well for the Ashes series.

Alastair Cook Photo: Photosport

"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," the 31-year-old told the Cricketer magazine.

"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."

But he clarified his comments on the eve of the opening test against India at Rajkot.

"It was just an honest answer to a question that is quite hard to answer," Cook told reporters.

"When someone asks how long do you see yourself captaining forward, we don't really know, do you?

"Ever since that Sri Lanka series just before the World Cup (after he was replaced as one-day international captain), I've been very open about this and with (ECB director) Andrew Strauss, and I say we'll take every series as it comes.

"So when someone says how long will you go on for, I say I don't know - two months, which will be the end of this series, or it could be six months or two years. That is the answer."

Cook, who will surpass Michael Atherton's England record of 54 matches as test captain after the first match in India, replaced Strauss as skipper in 2012.

Alastair Cook batting against India at The Oval 2014.

Alastair Cook batting against India in 2014. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

He has led England to 24 test victories, including a 2-1 series win over India the last time they toured the Asian country in 2012.

"The headline has been made and it wasn't my intention," Cook said.

"Like everything about the way I've gone about my business for the last two years, it's been a series-by-series judgement," he added.

"If you listen to the whole interview you'll hear I quite enjoy going back to Essex, standing at first slip and not making decisions and just throwing a few ideas at the captain and see if he takes them.

"Then he (the interviewer) says, can you see yourself doing it for England? And I say yeah."

Cook, who has scored 10,688 runs at an average of just below 47 in 135 tests, including 29 centuries, is planning to keep playing for the foreseeable future.

"This is probably a mountain out of a molehill," the left-handed opening batsman added. "It can get blown out of proportion and on this one I think it has done. My situation hasn't changed.

"No-one has been talking about it in the dressing-room, nobody has asked me in the dressing-room and to me it's business as usual."

- Reuters