England captain Cook: I’ve learnt a great deal since replacing Strauss

England captain Alastair Cook says he has learnt a great deal since replacing Andrew Strauss as Test skipper last August

Harry Kemble
By Harry Kemble
alastair cook
Alastair Cook was named as England's Test captain in August Photo: The Sport Review

Alastair Cook says being England captain day in, day out is the only way to learn how to do the job.

The Test and one-day international skipper is about to begin his first summer in charge after assuming the role from Andrew Strauss last year.

However, the Essex batsman, 28, has revealed there is no shortcut to understanding the role and only “first-hand experience” will improve you as a leader.

“I’ve learnt a great deal,” said Cook, speaking ahead of the First Test against New Zealand next week, “I think you only really learn when you are actually doing the job.

“You can seek as much advice as you can before you actually takeover, but that first-hand experience I think is the most important thing. ”

Cook succeeded Strauss – often heralded as one of England’s greatest captains thanks to his two Ashes victories at the helm of English cricket in August.

And the first eight months of his reign have been almost without hitch, after England claimed a famous 2-1 series victory in India, however Cook’s side stuttered somewhat to a 0-0 draw over New Zealand in March.

But Cook believes that with each new captain brings about a period of evolution as both the players and the new leader learn about each other.

“It’s always going to be different – I can’t try to be like Andrew Strauss and the team can’t try to treat me like Andrew Strauss,” added Cook.

“Strauss was obviously a fantastic captain and a fantastic leader and he did a fantastic job for the team, it’s just the team does evolve in a slightly different way.”

His comments come as his touted successor, Joe Root, starts his own path to becoming England captain, by leading out the Lions side against the touring New Zealanders on Thursday at Grace Road.

The 22-year-old Yorkshire star was due to skipper the Lions on their winter tour Down Under, before his outstanding batting form saw him selected for the full England tour to New Zealand, instead.

Root says he is excited about the challenges which captaincy poses, and is not affected by his inexorable rise to the senior England side.

“I am still the same bloke I was six months ago really, just six months older with a bit more experience under my belt,” he said, speaking to Cricinfo.

“I will try and keep as level as possible and cricket is the best leveller as a sport you can play in. I will always try and stay the same bloke I have been and that shouldn’t really change at all.”

“I’ve grown up captaining at age groups and a little bit of club cricket but not a great deal,” he added.

“It will be a good challenge to me and I am really looking forward to it. It’s been a while, perhaps a year or so, when I did it in club cricket. I would like to think I will be nice and calm and collected, just try and have a relaxed approach. “

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